A runoff seems obvious for a vacant Central Valley congressional seat between a familiar political name and a newcomer.
As results pour in from Fresno and Tulare counties for the 22nd congressional district seat, Connie Conway, R-Tulare, and Lourin Hubbard, D-Fresno, are in position for a general election on June 7.
Results as of 9:55 p.m. Tuesday night show Conway with 34.5% of the vote, with Hubbard second with 19.9%, based on 62,657 votes — including all Election Day precincts in Fresno.
With the apparent absence of a majority candidate, the top two will move on.
“I look forward to the hard work it will take between now and June. I appreciate all the people who supported me. I will look for more supporters to succeed,” Conway, a former minority leader in the state Assembly, said from a friend’s home in Tulare.
Hubbard, a state water manager, is ready to “shock the nation”.
“What happened tonight…isn’t supposed to happen, especially in this neighborhood. That a working-class black man is not supposed to shock the state. But that’s exactly what I did – what we did,” Hubbard said from his home after a night watch with supporters in Fresno.
Navy veteran Eric Garcia, D-Clovis, is in third place, behind Hubbard by 3,000 votes, which translates to 5%.
While the results could still change, it would take a mathematical anomaly for Conway to gain a majority or fall to third place.
|Fresno County||Tulare County||Total|
|Connie Conway (right)||11,005||27.6%||10,626||46.8%||21,631||34.5%|
|Lourin Hubbard (D)||9,049||22.7%||3,435||15.1%||12,484||19.9%|
|Eric Garcia (D)||5,768||14.4%||3,707||16.3%||9,475||15.1%|
|Michael Maher (R)||4,415||11.1%||1,124||4.9%||5,539||8.8%|
|Elizabeth Heng (R)||3,572||8.9%||523||2.3%||4,095||6.5%|
As of 04/05/22, 9:55 p.m.
Six ran in the special election
Polls closed at 8 p.m. in the 22nd congressional district with six candidates vying to represent the Central Valley in Washington DC
Four Republicans and two Democrats were running for the House seat vacated by Devin Nunes, R-Tulare. Nunes stepped down Jan. 1 to become CEO of former President Donald Trump’s social media company.
Even with a redistricting, only voters under the “old” CD 22 border — which covers parts of Fresno and Tulare counties — are eligible to vote. If no candidate obtains more than 50% of the vote, the first two will qualify for a second round on June 7.
Conway expected a second round.
“With six candidates, it seems like a really big ask to hit 50% plus one,” Conway said. “It doesn’t look like we’re going to get there.”
When will the winner be sworn in?
A candidate could have been sworn in before April 14, but that does not appear to be the case.
“The Clerk’s office must first receive a letter from the Secretary of State or appropriate election official stating that, according to the unofficial results, there is an elected member. Once this letter is received by the Clerk and filed with the House, the elected member can be sworn in as a member of Congress. There is no specific date for the swearing in,” the House Clerk’s office said.
Although polling stations closed at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, the last day for absentee ballots to be received by the electoral office is April 12 – as long as they are postmarked by April 5. The last day for voters to remedy a mismatched or missing signature on a ballot is April 12.
The two clerks have until April 14 to certify the results to the Secretary of State. Fresno County Clerk James Kus says he’s likely to certify on that date and not before.
The winner will serve until January 3, 2023, when the term expires.
Traditionally, turnout in special elections has been low.
The district has 415,021 registered voters – 257,752 in Fresno County and 156,269 in Tulare County.
Through Monday, Fresno County received 40,657 ballots, either by mail or drop box. Tulare County received 23,727 by mail.