Local Election

Merced DA Morse concedes election to challenger Helms Lewis

Merced County DA challenger declares victory

In a stunning landslide, a political newcomer cruised to an easy win Tuesday, June 5, 2018, night over longtime Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II, an incumbent whose political strength had never before been challenged.
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In a stunning landslide, a political newcomer cruised to an easy win Tuesday, June 5, 2018, night over longtime Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II, an incumbent whose political strength had never before been challenged.

Veteran Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse conceded the election to his challenger, Kimberly Helms Lewis, the morning after her surprising landslide victory.

Morse, who has been district attorney since 2006, said he congratulates "Ms. Lewis on a decisive victory and (I) pledge to do everything necessary to ensure a smooth transition," he said in a statement on Wednesday.

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Incumbent Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II speaks during a forum Tuesday, May 29, 2018, at Tenaya Middle School. Thaddeus Miller tmiller@mercedsunstar.com

"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as district attorney and especially the opportunity to work with the incomparable employees of our office, who have done so much to make our county safer."

With all precincts reporting, Helms Lewis, a 47-year-old veteran government attorney and prosecutor, secured 65.7 percent of the vote compared with Morse's tally of 34.1 percent, according to the unofficial numbers from the Merced County Elections Office.

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At center, Kimberly Helms Lewis, a 47-year-old veteran government attorney and prosecutor, surged ahead early when the polls closed in Merced and never looked back. Andrew Kuhn

With 11,171 votes, Helms Lewis outpaced Morse by 5,377 votes.

Helms Lewis, who came onto the political scene in Merced County just three months ago, ran a campaign promising "change," saying Merced County voters were ready for new leadership in the prosecutor's office.

She thanked her supporters and election team just before midnight on Tuesday while declaring victory.

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