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Cunningham holds edge over Addis for Assembly, Laird wins Senate seat

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Neither candidate in the race for California's 35th District Assembly seat delivered a hasty victory or concession speech on Nov. 3.

TIGHT RACE Incumbent 35th District Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (pictured) held a narrow lead on challenger Dawn Addis in election night results. - FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • File Photo By Jayson Mellom
  • TIGHT RACE Incumbent 35th District Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (pictured) held a narrow lead on challenger Dawn Addis in election night results.

As of press time, election night results showed two-term incumbent Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) with a 52 percent to 48 percent edge on Democratic challenger Dawn Addis—with plenty of votes left to count.

The race to represent SLO and northern Santa Barbara counties in Sacramento is likely to come down to post-Election Day tallies of largely mail-in ballots. Both candidates said they're fine with waiting on the outcome.

"It's incredibly close, and what we really want is every single ballot be counted," Addis told New Times by phone. "That's the most important thing right now."

Cunningham echoed his opponent's message in a written press statement.

"This election—like all of 2020—has been unprecedented. Given the impacts COVID-19 has had on the electoral process, we need to be patient and wait for all the votes to be counted," Cunningham said.

First elected to the Assembly in 2016, Cunningham is in his closest race since he ran for state office. The former SLO County District Attorney's Office prosecutor and school board official won his first two elections by 9 and 11 percentage margins respectively. He's in much tighter race against Addis, a Morro Bay City Council member and co-founder of the local Women's March.

High voter turnout is expected in the Democrat-leaning district. In 2018, the race saw 174,743 total ballots cast. In 2020, officials already tabulated 166,133 votes by Nov. 4.

"It says that people value democracy," Addis said. "They value our democratic system, being able to cast their vote, being able to speak up for what's important."

While the 35th Assembly race may take days to finalize, California Senate candidate John Laird is cruising to a victory in the 17th District race. The former Santa Cruz-area Assembly member has 68 percent of the vote thus far, beating Republican challenger Vicki Nohrden, who has 32 percent of the vote.

The winner of that race will succeed Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel), who's terming out at the end of the year, to represent a district that stretches from northern Santa Cruz County to southern SLO County. Δ

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