- Associated Press - Thursday, November 17, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Former Democratic Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva has won her bid for a comeback in the California Legislature, defeating first-term Republican Young Kim in Orange County.

Quirk-Silva’s victory bolsters the Democratic supermajority in the California Assembly next year, but the Senate remained in flux Thursday as Democrat Josh Newman narrowed the gap against Republican Ling Ling Chang in Southern California.

The outcome of that race will determine whether Democrats have a supermajority in the Senate.

Tabulations by Orange County Thursday showed Quirk-Silva’s lead over Kim widening to 5 percentage points as more ballots were counted.

Kim, of Fullerton, said in a statement that she called Quirk-Silva to concede and will keep her former rival in her prayers.

“The result is obviously disappointing and not what we wanted,” Kim said. “However, we leave this campaign with comfort knowing that we engaged voters through a grassroots campaign.”

The race was in the spotlight two weeks before the election when Kim reported to police that someone broke into her Buena Park campaign office, stealing 30 tablets and a laptop computer.

Quirk-Silva, who served one term in the Assembly before losing to Kim in 2014, said in a statement that she will “fight like heck” to ensure California moves toward a brighter future for everyone.

“Nationally there is a lot of anxiety about what is coming and I, too, am concerned about the direction of our country,” Quirk-Silva said.

This election year has been rough for California Republicans, who were on the defensive in several districts that typically support Democrats in presidential election years.

Kim is one of three Assembly Republicans to lose their re-election bids this year, along with David Hadley of Torrance and Eric Linder of Corona. Republican Marc Steinorth of Rancho Cucamonga retained a small lead over Democrat Abigail Medina in the 40th Assembly district.

Democrats will have at least 55 seats of 80 seats in the state Assembly, one more than they need to raise taxes, approve emergency legislation, suspend rules or overturn gubernatorial vetoes without any Republican votes.

In the Senate, both parties were awaiting the results in the 29th district, where Democrat Newman trailed by about 1,400 votes. Two days earlier, he was 5,000 votes behind Chang.

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This story has been corrected to show that Orange County results were updated Thursday, not Wednesday.

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