Mike Villines is now in the lead for the Republican primary for insurance commissioner.
Villines, a termed-out Assemblyman and former Republican Assembly leader, seemed poised to lose an astounding upset to Brian FitzGerald, a political newcomer and Insurance Department enforcement lawyer who spent less than $5,000 on his campaign.
Villines trailed by more than 11,000 votes last week with 100 percent of the precincts reporting, but with more than 1 million provisional and mail-in ballots still uncounted. Villines decided not to concede the close race. Since then, Villines has steadily caught up as more provisional and mail-in ballots have been counted.
Villines now leads FitzGerald by 2,864 votes with 773,497 ballots still remaining to be tallied.
“We're happy that the absentee votes have been trending in our favor and we've been able to pull ahead,” said Jennifer Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Villines campaign. “But there are still thousands of ballots to be counted, so we'll continue watching the results very closely.”