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Potential upset brewing in South Bay Assembly District? [Updated]

November 3, 2010 |  1:18 am

Democrats were buoyed Tuesday as they appeared to pick up a Sacramento-area Assembly seat held by Republicans. With the apparent victory of Richard Pan over Andy Pugno, Democrats appeared poised to add to their majority in the house.

It appeared there may be an upset brewing in the South Bay where Tea Party candidate Nathan Mintz, a Republican, was clinging to a small lead over Democrat Besty Butler.

With 66% of precincts reporting, Mintz held a 420-vote lead over Butler in a district that has been a Democratic stronghold for more than a decade. But as more votes came in, it looked as if Butler may narrowly escape. With 88% of the votes in, Butler opened up a 3,400-vote lead.

Butler, a fundraiser for the state's trial-lawyer association, survived a bruising primary that saw business groups spend heavily on negative ads against her. Those same groups game in with a late infusion of cash on Mintz's behalf in the final week of the campaign.

--Anthony York