Brian Jones speaks on election night. Photo by Chris Stone

Former Chula Vista Mayor Steve Padilla and Republican auto dealer Matt Gunderson led in races for open state Senate seats, while incumbent Sen. Brian Jones held a growing margin over a Democratic challenger.

Padilla, a Democrat, heads to a runoff in November with 62% of the early vote to Republican challenger Alejandro Galicia’s 38%.

“I am excited that voters all across Southern California strongly supported our campaign and believe in our vision of rebuilding opportunity for California’s working families,” Padilla said. “I’m ready to win in November and keep up the fight to rebuild economic opportunity for all Californians.”

Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear, a Democrat, led Gunderson early in the evening, but as more ballots were counted the positions reversed. On Wednesday morning, Gunderson was head by by 45% to 44%. The two will face each other in a November runoff.

The race began tighter for incumbent Sen. Brian Jones, a Republican, but by the morning he led Democratic challenger Joseph Rocha by 54% to 46%.

Updated at 7:40 a.m., Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Chris Jennewein

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