- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A Republican state assemblyman had a runaway lead and appeared the clear victor over four opponents Tuesday night in a race to replace a state senator who represented a district spanning parts of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Assemblyman Mike Morrell from Rancho Cucamonga had 62.6 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting in unofficial results for the 23rd Senate District seat that previously belonged to Sen. Bill Emmerson, who resigned in November.

“It came out a little bit better than I’d anticipated,” Morrell, the only candidate to raise significant money for the race, told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “I’m very pleased.”

Morrell’s closest competitor and the top vote-getting Democrat, author and educator Ronald O’Donnell, had 15 percent. Another Democrat, Ameenah Fuller, had 9 percent. Libertarian Jeff Hewitt and Republican Crystal Ruiz had 6 percent apiece.

Morrell would have had to advance to a June runoff for the seat with the other top vote getter, but if the results are made official his majority of the vote will give him the seat outright. He would serve through 2016.

Morrell has represented the 40th Assembly District since 2010. His district covers about half the Senate district, where 41 percent of voters are Republicans and 34 percent are Democrats.

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