With the final precincts reporting, the 72nd Assembly District race remained too close to call early Wednesday morning.
Los Alamitos Mayor Troy Edgar was the clear frontrunner with 28.5 percent of the vote, but it's unclear whether he will square off against Garden Grove Planning Commissioner Joe Dovinh, a Democrat, or a fellow Republican, financial planner Travis Allen, in the November general election. With only 228 votes separating the two runners-up, the yet-to-be counted absentee ballots could be the deciding factor in the race.
“It’s a nail-biter. I am not surprised, but it’s just too close to call,” Dovinh said at 1:30 a.m., after all 320 precincts reported. “I think anything more than a percentage point would not trigger a recount.”
Dovinh said he expected the absentee ballots to be tallied as early as Wednesday afternoon, but it could take more than a week to certify the election, he said.
Of the 41,433 votes counted Tuesday night, Edgar garnered 13,735 votes, followed by Allen with 9,579, Dovinh with 9,351 and Orange County Board of Education Trustee Long Pham, another Republican, with 8,767.
While Dovinh and Allen await their political fate, the Edgar campaign began celebrating with fellow Republicans at the Orange County Republican Party election gathering in Costa Mesa.
"We feel really confident. It looks like we're holding the lead pretty good. I'm excited and very appreciative of the voters; they're giving me a terrific opportunity,” Edgar said while attending the bash. “We ran a really good campaign, we hired the best people. We had a tremendous number of volunteers."
Edgar said he plans to focus on the economy if elected in November.
"I'm going to work on advocating for businesses and jobs. We need to create an economy that can keep jobs in California and keep building the economy up. I'm also going to work with the Republican leadership and get in the trench and try to move everything forward."
Running as a Republican for a Democratic-dominated state legislature, Edgar said he was undaunted.
"Being in the minority, whether it’s the city council or state government, I've been in the minority … we just need to continue to have good people running, and when you're in there, you have a 100 percent chance to influence what’s going on. You have to go in with reasonable expectations, and I intend to look for like-minded folks I can work with up there."
Newly formed in the redistricting process, the 72nd Assembly District includes portions of Fountain Valley, Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Seal Beach, Sunset Beach, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Midway City, Santa Ana and Westminster.