California Senate President Pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins speaks to union workers at a car rally downtown on Election Day. Photo by Chris Stone

Sen. Toni Atkins, arguably the second most powerful state official as president pro tempore of the state Senate, appeared headed for an easy reelection victory on Tuesday.

With 64.4% of ballots counted in San Diego County, she led Republican opponent Linda Blankenship by 67.5% to 32.5% and had declared victory.

“I’m overwhelmed with gratitude that you, my neighbors in the 39th Senate District, have elected me to serve as your state senator for a second term,” Atkins said in a statement on Wednesday.

San Diego City Councilman Chris Ward appeared headed to the state Assembly in the 78th District with 55.5% to opponent Sarah Davis’s 42.5%.

Assembly Republican leader Marie Waldron was facing a tight race in the 75th District, leading Democratic challenger Karren Schwartz by 52.0% to 48.0%. But the Waldron’s margin grew over the evening.

“The early results of the election show us neck-and-neck with the most powerful Republican in the State Assembly. I am incredibly proud of the work our campaign has accomplished over the course of this election,” said Schwartz in a statement.

Other incumbents in the state Legislature a were doing well in the early returns. Here’s a district-by-district summary:

71st District — Incumbent Randy Voepel leads at 57.8% to Liz “Elizabeth” Lavertu’s 42.2%.

76th District — Incumbent Tasha Boerner Horvath leads with 57.5% to Melanie Burkholder’s 42.5%.

77th District — Republican turned Democrat Brian Maienschein is ahead at 57.8% to Republican June Cutter’s 42.2%.

79th District — Incumbent Shirley Weber leads challenger John Moore by 66.4% to 33.6%.

80th District — Incumbent Lorena Gonzalez has a commanding 71.6% to challenger John Vogel’s 28.4%.

Updated at 2:03 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.