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Big Gain For Strickland

Tony Strickland surged to a 1,560 vote lead over Hannah-Beth Jackson Wednesday, on the strength of newly counted ballots in Ventura County. Santa Barbara county's registrar also reported counting new ballots, which favored the Democrat, but not by nearly enough to make up for the Republican's strength in Ventura.

It is the first significant lead for either candidate in the closely-contested 19th state senate district since Election Day, and puts Strickland in a commanding position, as counting continues in three counties with portions of the sprawling district.

The overall tally now stands at:
Strickland 187,631 (50.20)
Jackson 186,071 (49.79)

As a political matter, Jackson is running out of places to score votes. About 1,000 vote by mail ballots remain to be counted in Santa Barbara County, the only place where she has run ahead of Strickland, in addition to about 6,000 provisional ballots; the latter are likely to favor Jackson, as many of them are believed to have been cast by late-registering UCSB students.

However, Strickland is winning handily in Ventura County, which has about 40,000 absentees and 15,000 provisionals outstanding; he has also run well ahead of Jackson in the small part of the district that is in L.A. County. There, the registrar has about 225,000 more vote by mail ballots to count, but only a small number of them are in the 19th district.

The Secretary of State has until Dec. 2 to certify the results.

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