Riverside County election officials processed about 12,000 vote-by-mail and provisional ballots Thursday, but none were in the 60th Assembly District where Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes, D-Corona, holds a three-vote lead over Republican challenger Bill Essayli.

About 238,000 vote-by-mail and provisional ballots remained uncounted as of Thursday afternoon, down from about 250,000 Wednesday afternoon, according to the Riverside County Registrar of Voters.

Cervantes leads Essayli, 26,731-26,728, according to semi-official results released Wednesday.

Cervantes’ bid for a second term included her father Greg Cervantes, a former Coachella councilman, being caught allegedly snatching an Essayli for Assembly flyer left on the door of an Eastvale residence in June.

In October, another campaign volunteer, Carlos Gonzalez of Corona, allegedly cut down a 3-by-5 foot Essayli sign at the intersection of Pronio Drive and Temescal Canyon Road.

Both incidents were investigated by the Corona Police Department, and the investigators’ reports were submitted to the District Attorney’s Office for review, with Essayli requesting that criminal charges be filed.

A decision whether to prosecute has not been made, District Attorney’s Office public information officer John Hall told City News Service last week.

Cervantes ran on a re-election platform focused on increasing funding for public education, reducing traffic congestion and bolstering the regional economy.

She put an emphasis on generating interest among new voters, saying in a social media post that “I support bills that lead the way for our younger generations, women and families in California. I want our young generations to have role models so that some day they can keep the cycle rolling and be role models in their futures.”

Essayli made crime-fighting, repealing the gas tax hike of 2017, which Cervantes supported, and ensuring California’s economic competitiveness central issues in his platform. He challenged Cervantes several times to public debates, but she declined each invitation.

“Between high taxes, job-killing red tape and an ever-expanding nanny state, it is often amazing that any business can stay open in California,” the former prosecutor said. “The California Dream is quickly turning into a nightmare for far too many small businesses. I want to work with California job creators to enact policies that will help them grow.”

The 60th Assembly District encompasses Corona, Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Norco, west Riverside and the unincorporated communities of El Cerrito and Home Gardens.

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