Democrat Rusty Areias has admitted defeat in this year´s closest and most expensive state Senate race.
The former assemblyman and state parks director issued a statement this afternoon saying his campaign against Republican Jeff Denham had come to an end.
Denham´s victory in the 12th District means that Republicans will hold 15 of the Senate´s 40 seats when lawmakers begin their 2003 session next month. The G.O.P. held 14 seats going into the November 5th election.
Areias´ announcement leaves only one undecided race, an even closer battle between Democrat Nicole Parra and Republican Dean Gardner for a southern San Joaquin Valley Assembly seat.