By JULIE JOHNSON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Assembly candidate Michael Allen saw his lead narrow to 270 votes Monday in the hard-fought 7th Assembly District Democratic primary after all the mail-in ballots were counted in Solano County, the stronghold of his main rival, Vallejo City Councilman Michael Wilson.
Votes are still being counted in Sonoma and Napa counties, which both tilted heavily for Allen on Election Day.
Both candidates said they expected a clear winner to emerge Wednesday when Napa County certifies its final tally. Sonoma County will issue its final vote count on Friday or Monday.
“It’s exciting to see that my lead in Solano has improved since Election Day,” Wilson said. “Now I’m waiting for those Napa votes.”
Allen, a former Santa Rosa planning commissioner who is favored to win the primary, said Wilson’s lead in Solano “confirms that the trends that were established on election night are holding,” he said.
“We lost some of our lead but we’re feeling pretty confident,” Allen said.
The two men are vying to replace departing Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, who is running for the state Senate.
With Solano County posting its final results and only mail-in ballots left uncounted in Sonoma and Napa counties, Allen had 14,779 votes and Wilson had 14,509 votes. Former Santa Rosa Councilman Lee Pierce trailed in third with 7,102 votes.
Allen held a 520-vote lead on election night, but saw it shrink when all the votes were counted in Solano County, where Wilson beat Allen 48 percent to 37 percent.
On Monday, Sonoma County officials began counting the 26,000 vote-by-mail ballots that were turned in at the polls or arrived in the mail the week of the election, said Gloria Colter, the county’s assistant registrar of voters.
But both candidates are watching Napa County. It is the only one of the three counties where all of its voters reside in the 7th Assembly District, which covers portions of Sonoma and Solano counties.
Napa election officials had about 13,000 ballots left to certify, a record number of mail-in ballots delivered to the polls, Napa Registrar John Tuteur said.
“We’ve just about done counting,” Tuteur said late Monday.
If he maintains his lead after Wednesday, Allen said he’d be prepared to send a notice to the public that “we believe we’re the victors and it’s time to get ready for the fall.”