Who would have thought that the epicenter of California politics in 2013 would be found in Delano?

Political parties and their allies are in the midst of an intensive get out the vote drive after a surprising comeback by Leticia Perez (D) kept Andy Vidak (R) from receiving 50% of the vote, forcing a runoff.

If anyone tells you they know what the outcome will be, ignore them. The result will be determined by the number of absentee ballots returned, and whether Democratic factions that did not vote for Perez in May coalesce behind the party’s candidate.

 Perez doesn’t have a margin of error. If you add the 3,984 votes received in the primary by 2 other Democrats and a Peace & Freedom candidate to her 27,854 votes, you get 31,838. Vidak received 31,610 votes. We’re talking razor-thin here, and turnout will be everything.

Why is this seat so important for both parties? Well, it’s the only shot for Republicans to keep Democrats from a two-thirds majority for what is likely the remainder of the decade.

Democrats need 27 votes for the supermajority, and currently have 28 members. In 2014, one seat is lost, as Leland Yee’s San Francisco district is teleported the conservative foothills. That puts Democrats at 27 and needing to defend SD34, where Jose Solorio (D) will try to win a tough district for Democrats in a mid-term election.

Thus, if Republicans win SD16, they have a chance of keeping Democrats at 26 after 2014. If Democrats win, they will likely hold the supermajority until the 2021 redistricting.

Cross posted in the Nooner