A day after conceding the Merced County Office of Education election to his opponent, the trailing candidate has changed his mind.
The race between county Superintendent Steve Tietjen and Merced River District Superintendent Richard Lopez seemed to be settled on Wednesday when Lopez took to Facebook and thanked his supporters while speaking about his campaign in the past tense, saying "democracy spoke and we live with the outcome."
Almost 24 hours later, he changed the post to say "democracy is speaking and we will support the outcome."
Lopez said he was getting "inundated" with texts and calls from supporters so he took to Facebook to try to talk to everyone at once. He changed the wording to show his intent to wait for the final results from the elections office, he said.
"We heard that there are 12,000 ballots out there," he said on Thursday. "I mean, this thing's still wide open."
Tietjen has 53.2 percent of the vote, according to the unofficial number from the Merced County Elections Office, compared to Lopez's 46.6 percent. The candidates are separated by about 1,100 votes.
Fifty percent plus one vote is needed to win the race.
There are still 12,400 vote-by-mail and provisional ballots left to be processed, according to Barbara Levey, the registrar of voters. Then there are more ballots that are bound to come in the mail that are properly postmarked.
"At the end of the day, we respect the outcome," Lopez said.
Tietjen said he had not seen the Facebook post, and said he had not heard from Lopez. He said he was not prepared to declare victory until more votes were counted.
"I feel very good about where the vote stands," he said. "I'm proud of the campaign we've run. I think that we stuck to the issues and I think the voters supported that."
Levey has said the next update to the count is expected on Friday.
The superintendent's race has not been without its share of bumps.
A third candidate for the seat Gabby Sanchez found out in April that she would be allowed on the ballot. Sanchez butted heads with elections staff over whether she met the requirements to be a county superintendent.
After a couple of weeks of the dispute, Sanchez threw her support behind Lopez.