Merced County DA challenger declares victory
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.
"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.
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.