Central Coast voters are in the midst of deciding crucial state Senate race
Central Coast voters headed to the polls Tuesday to cast their ballots in a special election that will decide who'll fill Abel Maldonado's former seat in the state Senate.
Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) and former Assemblyman John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) head a field of candidates hoping to fill the vacancy in the 15th Senate District.
The race has become a partisan battleground -- one that could prove pivotal for both parties in the Senate. If Laird wins, Democrats will hold 26 seats in the Senate, one shy of a two-thirds majority needed to pass budgets, tax increases and more. Republicans are seeking to hold on to their seat in an effort to remain relevant.
If any candidate earns 50% of the vote they will win the seat outright. If no candidate receives a majority of Tuesday's vote, the top vote-getter in each party will advance to an Aug. 22 runoff.
-- Anthony York in Sacramento