The semi-official results for the new Assembly District 5 show Madera County Supervisor Frank Bigelow defeating former state Sen. Rico Oller with 53.3 percent to Oller’s 46.7 percent with 100 percent of precincts reporting.
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“I am deeply disappointed by the results,” Oller said in a press release Wednesday morning. “I was looking forward to representing the foothills in the Assembly and protecting taxpayers. I want to thank those who supported my campaign.”
The press release noted that Oller was outspent nearly 4:1 in the primary and more than 5:1 in the general election “by Sacramento special interest groups who wanted an assemblyman they can influence.”
Oller walked precincts in urban areas, held rallies and stood on street corners to promote himself.
“It has been a lot of hard work. I attended fairs, went door to door, and made a lot of calls,” Rico said in the press release.
He noted that the campaign was odd as it was Republican vs. Republican, rather than having different parties, thanks to both candidates having the most votes in the primary. “A lot of voters feel disenfranchised,” Oller said. “They feel that they should have the choice of candidates from both major parties as well as smaller parties and independents.”
Bigelow, meanwhile, radiated a quiet, calm happiness over the phone, calling election night “a great night” after he learned the unofficial results. He said he wanted to give his “true thanks” to “all those that came out, for supporting their candidate and supporting me.” He said that there were “many people that said, ‘I want to help you get elected.’ …I’m so thankful and grateful.”
He would, however, have liked to have seen a greater voter turnout overall. “I’m pleased with the turnout, but I want to see more,” he said.
Looking to the future, Bigelow said he is going to the Capitol for training. “I’ll be going through training, getting prepared and getting a good staff,” he said. “I’ll get aligned with what I’m doing with committees. I’m getting ready to represent District 5 and California as a whole.”
As for the race itself, Bigelow said it is in the past. “That was yesterday. Today is a new day,” he said. “There are lessons to learn, but it’s a new day and time to move forward and fix the state.”
The results are not final, due to a large number of absentee ballots that have not yet been counted. The final results will be certified by Dec. 4.