Mike Stoker has conceded the 37th Assembly District race to Gregg Hart.
Mr. Hart, the Democratic candidate, won the race with 72,357 votes or 59.29% of the ballots cast, according to the latest unofficial results Tuesday night from the county Elections Office.
Mr. Stoker, the Republican candidate, garnered 49,687 votes or 40.71%.
On the night of the Nov. 8 election, Mr. Stoker, a former regional Environmental Protection Agency administrator, held out hope that votes would lean in his direction. But the trend continued to favor Mr. Hart, who currently represents the 2nd District on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.
“Our campaign no longer has a path to victory,” Mr. Stoker told the News-Press and others in a statement. “As a result, I called Supervisor Hart, conceded and congratulated him on becoming our Assemblyman-elect.”
“I am proud of the race we ran over the past nine months,” Mr. Stoker continued. “While we unfortunately came up short, our campaign made large inroads with the Latino community throughout the Central Coast, and we have set our party up for further success in down-ballot Santa Barbara County races.
“However, let me be perfectly clear about one issue: Our loss here in the 37th Assembly District had nothing to do with a rigged election, ballot counting trickery or election gremlins,” he said.
Mr. Stoker said Republicans in California or elsewhere in the U.S. can’t win races if they argue the system is rigged and discourage people from voting before the day of the election.
“Pursuing that strategy significantly suppresses Republican turnout,” said Mr. Stoker, a former Santa Barbara County supervisor. “And that is exactly what happened in our race and throughout California.
“Republicans in the past were the party that voted early, and our candidates benefited as a result,” Mr. Stoker said. “We need to again start voting early and unite with the message to track your ballot by going to www.WheresMyBallot.sos.ca.gov.”
The 37th Assembly District is a newly created district, which contains all of Santa Barbara County and the southern, unincorporated end of San Luis Obispo County.