A Republican candidate in a special state Senate election was able to wash off his record as an oil company employee more easily than Democrats had expected.
But the four-way contest for the 15th Senate District may be headed to an August runoff.
GOP Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee remains just short of the 50 percent he needs to win the seat outright in Tuesday's primary election.
Former Democratic Assemblyman John Laird trailed with 41 percent of the vote Wednesday. Two other candidates had about 9 percent combined.
Thousands of provisional and late mail-in votes are left to be counted.