MODESTO -- Republican Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen handily won re-election in a lopsided race against Democratic challenger Christopher Mateo.
With 100 percent of the precincts counted, Olsen won 61.5 percent of the vote to Mateo's 38.5 percent.
Olsen's win gives her her second term in the Assembly, but her first for the 12th Assembly District. The new district includes much of Stanislaus County and adds ground in San Joaquin County. But it removes much of her former constituency in the Sierra Nevada and part of Madera County.
Despite the new district lines, Olsen said her priorities for her return to the Assembly remain the same. She said attracting and retaining jobs, improving education, and reforming government to be more transparent and fiscally responsible are her focus.
"I am thrilled to have an overwhelming level of support for my re-election and grateful for everyone who worked so hard. I look forward to getting to work to make sure we're improving schools, attracting jobs and improving the safety of our community," Olsen said while at a victory party at the Fat Cat Music House & Lounge in downtown Modesto with several other area Republican candidates.
Sitting Lathrop City Councilman and Vice Mayor Mateo, a retired postal worker, held no joint events with Olsen during the campaign and has declined to speak with The Bee since the beginning of his uncontested primary.
Gray leads in 21st race
In the 21st Assembly District race, Democrat Adam Gray leading won in the newly drawn, predominantly Democratic district that encompasses all of Merced County and the southwest section of Stanislaus County, including Ceres and parts of Modesto.
With 100 percent of precincts partially reporting, Gray had 56 percent of the votes districtwide, while his Republican opponent, Jack Mobley, had 44 percent.
Gray, welcomed by applause and cheers from dozens of family and supporters at the Branding Iron in Merced, said the results late Tuesday were looking great. "I'm feeling good. It's just been a great campaign," he told the Merced Sun-Star. "I'm really happy that the community is out there supporting this message of unity."
Mobley, who was with a group of 30 to 40 relatives and supporters at the old district attorney's office in Merced, said he would be the best guy to represent constituents in the 21st District. He said if he lost the race, he's not sure he'd run again. "I'm not going to say never, but it would be kind of hard to revamp and do it all again."
And in the 5th Assembly District, stretching from Mono Lake almost to Tahoe, Madera County Supervisor Frank Bigelow beat fellow Republican Rico Oller of San Andreas, a former legislator. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Bigelow had 53 percent of the vote to Oller's 47 percent.
Merced Sun-Star staff writer Yesenia Amaro contributed to this report.