MERCED -- The contest for the 21st Assembly District likely will come down to the sole conservative in the race and a heavily funded Democratic opponent.
With two-thirds of precincts reporting Tuesday night, the lone GOP candidate, Jack Mobley, was emerging on top with 44.9 percent of the vote.
Adam Gray was taking 31.9 percent of the vote, beating fellow Democrats Lesa Rasmussen (10.2 percent), Tommy Jones (9.5 percent) and Robert R. Sellers (3.4 percent).
Gray was unfazed by Mobley's strong showing.
"He's the lone Republican in the race and he's taken up most of that base," he said. "We've done very well. It'll only get better in November."
Mobley, who raised about $30,000 from individual donors, blasted Gray as a Democratic insider who doesn't represent the community.
"He's a nice guy but he's not local," Mobley said. "The people realize that. They want somebody local, not somebody who's been handpicked by Bay Area and Southern California politicians. He's got the dollars, and I have the people."
The predominantly Democratic district includes Merced County and the southwest section of Stanislaus County, including parts of Modesto.
Mobley, a member of the Merced County Planning Commission, has a conservative platform, criticizing the state's proposed high-speed rail project and calling for less regulation on small business. Mobley collected more than $20,000 from individual donors and money he gave himself.
Gray is a politically connected candidate with the backing of the Democratic Party. He is the only candidate to support the high-speed rail project. He's raised more than $300,000 from individual donors, unions and numerous other sources.
12th Assembly District
In the redrawn 12th Assembly District, Modesto Republican Kristin Olsen was easily outpacing challenger Christopher Mateo, a Democratic city councilman from Lathrop, with 63 percent of the vote compared with his 37 percent.
But Mateo and Olsen were the only candidates on Tuesday's primary ballot, so they will both move forward into November's election. Olsen currently represents the 25th District, which includes areas in the central Sierra Nevada and part of Madera County that the 12th District won't. The 12th District picks up territory in San Joaquin County.
5th Assembly District
There were no real surprises in results for the newly created 5th Assembly District, which covers a large territory across both sides of the Sierra from South Lake Tahoe to Madera County.
Two Republicans, Rico Oller, a Calaveras County businessman who has served in the Assembly and state Senate, and Madera County Supervisor Frank Bigelow appear headed for the general election under the state's new "top two" primary rules.
With 222 of 356 precincts reporting, Oller was pulling in 33.3 percent of the vote, followed by Bigelow with 29 percent. Behind them were Democrat Timothy Fitzgerald of Tuolumne County (18.2 percent), Democrat Marc Boyd of Calaveras County (13.3 percent), Mark Belden of Calaveras County (4.1 percent) and Kevin Lancaster of Tuol-umne County (2.1 percent).
Bee staff writer Patty Guerra contributed to this report.