Irvine Mayor Don Wagner holds a 2,980-vote lead over former Rep. Loretta Sanchez Wednesday with an estimated 9,233 ballots left to count in the special election to fill the vacant Third District seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

Wagner led the field of seven candidates with 25,017 votes, 41.6 percent with all 229 precincts counted, according to figures from the Orange County Registrar of Votes. Sanchez was second with 22,037, 36.6 percent.

Former Anaheim City Councilwoman Kris Murray was third with 4,496 votes, 7.5 percent, followed by retiree and Vietnam veteran Larry Bales, who was fourth with 3,590 votes, 6 percent. Former Villa Park City Councilwoman Deborah Pauly was the only other candidate with at least 5 percent of the vote, receiving 3,309 votes, 5.5 percent.

Tuesday’s special election was necessitated by Todd Spitzer’s election as district attorney.

The district includes Anaheim Hills, most of Irvine, Orange, Tustin, Villa Park, Yorba Linda and a portion of Mission Viejo, as well as unincorporated areas such as the canyons in the Cleveland National Forest.

The post is nonpartisan, but behind the scenes, Orange County Democrats persuaded several other potential candidates to back off in favor of Sanchez, the only Democrat on the ballot.

The Orange County Republican Party endorsed Wagner.

Because it is a special election, a majority is not needed to be elected.

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