Returns show Acosta leading over Smith with some votes remaining

Christy Smith, Dante Acosta
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Assemblyman Dante Acosta, R-Santa Clarita, held a 1,222-vote lead in his re-election bid after all precincts’ ballots were counted from Tuesday’s election — but his Democratic challenger Christy Smith was holding out hope that remaining provisional and mail-in ballot counts might still help her close the gap.

Acosta and Smith faced off Tuesday for a second time. After all 252 precincts in the 38th Assembly District had been counted, Smith stood at 49.5 percent, while Acosta led by one percentage point with 50.5 percent of the vote.

The official totals were 127,666 ballots for the 38th Assembly District, according to the California Secretary of State’s records. There are still some provisional and late absentee ballots that remain uncounted.

Smith said Wednesday she believes the remaining ballots could make a difference.

“We’re still cautiously optimistic,” she said. “We do not have an estimate from Ventura County on outstanding votes, and countywide (in Los Angeles County), there are still around 700,000 votes to be counted. Not all of those are in our district, but we are still waiting and receiving regular updates from the registrar offices. We will play it by ear until we have a final count.”

Although L.A. County did not have numbers for the outstanding number of uncounted provisional and absentee ballots for the 38th Assembly District, official reports state there are 361,316 provisional ballots throughout the county, and 266,785 vote-by-mail ballots left uncounted, according to the registrar’s office.

Acosta spokesman David Creager said Wednesday that Smith had not conceded the race because it was too close, and ballots were still being counted.

On Tuesday night, while returns indicated he was in the lead, Acosta said he felt positively about his campaign.

“We’re happy to be up at this point,” Acosta said Tuesday. “We talked to thousands of people who felt very positively about the campaign, and we are confident voters will send us back to Sacramento for two more years by the end of the night.”

The pair last faced off in 2016, when Acosta garnered 53.1 percent of the vote.


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