Vidak vs. Perez: Voters Decide in Runoff Election Tuesday

Your vote could be the one that decides who becomes state senator tomorrow - a farmer from Hanford or a county supervisor from Bakersfield.

Republican Andy Vidak and Democrat Leticia Perez are vying to represent District 16, which covers parts of Fresno, Tulare and Kern counties and all of Kings County.

Neither Vidak nor Perez earned the majority vote needed to win in the last election.

Perez got most of her votes from Fresno and Kern counties, and although Vidak didn't get as many Fresno County votes as Perez did, most of his votes came from Fresno and Kings counties.

Overall, Vidak got more than 31,000 votes, and Perez got nearly 28,000 votes.

Fresno County votes could swing the race.{} There are about 136,000 registered voters in Fresno, and there's nearly twice as many registered Democrats as there are registered Republicans.

Nonetheless, the race is expected to be very close, as voters decide between two candidates who don't have a lot of experience in politics.

Vidak has none.

In a debate KMPH aired live last month, Vidak said, "I'm not running as a partisan politician. I want to make corrections and solutions for this valley. I'm willing to talk to anyone...and make common sense, common sense solutions out of the problems."

And Perez would be leaving her county supervisor seat, just seven months after she was sworn in.

Perez said, "I spent a lot of time asking voters how they felt about the prospect of me leaving so soon.{} I knew that some people could be offended or hurt by that."

What will hurt both candidates is a poor turnout.

With a little more than 3,700 votes separating them, Vidak and Perez will need every vote they received first time around.

And Perez will need nearly all the votes cast for the three other candidates in the primary to come out on top.

But those votes almost never go to just one candidate.

So the question is, which candidate has done the better job in winning over those voters since May?

Nearly 49,000 people have already decided, and mailed in their votes for this race.

Polls are open Tuesday from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m.