Tasha Boerner Horvath. Campaign photo

In early returns, incumbents and political veterans began to establish commanding leads in state legislative races, with one surprise.

That would be in the 76th District, where Tasha Boerner Horvath faced unexpectedly stiff competition.

Boerner Horvath, with 52.9% of the vote, held a narrow lead over Melanie Burkholder. She trailed with 47.1%, as 27% of precincts had reported.

In the 77th District, centrist Brian Maienschein, who switched from the Republican to the Democratic party, held nearly a nine-point advantage over Republican challenger June Cutter, an attorney and small business owner. 

He received 54.6% of the vote to her 45.4% with 47% of precincts reporting.

In the the 78th District, San Diego City Councilman Chris Ward, with 57.3% of the vote, led Sarah Davis by more than 30 points.

Democratic Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez in the 80th District faced criticism for her Assembly Bill 5, which seeks to turn most independent contractors into shift employees. She easily turned away a Republican challenge – John Vogel received 21.4% of the vote to her 66.7%.

Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron, running for re-election in the 75th District, faces only token Democratic opposition. Incumbents Randy Voepel in the 71st District and Shirley Weber in the 79th District have only limited opposition as well.

State Sen. Toni Atkins, who serves as Senate president pro tem, ran for re-election in the 39th District unopposed.

Updated 12:50 a.m., Wednesday, March 4, 2020

– Staff reports