The race for the 72nd Assembly District, which covers parts of Huntington and Fountain Valley, looks to be between Los Alamitos Mayor Troy Edgar, who earned 28.5% of the vote as of Wednesday morning, and Huntington Beach businessman Travis Allen, who placed second with 19.9%.
Finishing behind them in the preliminary counts were Garden Grove Planning Commissioner Joe Dovinh, Orange County Board of Education Trustee Long Pham, and retired police commander Albert Ayala.
Dovinh was 228 votes behind Allen on Wednesday.
The results are not official until all paper ballots have been counted. Registrar Neal Kelley said those ballots, which were either mailed or dropped off in person, can sometimes sway election results.
"They can, because now we're seeing so many dropped off at the polls that it's almost like election-day voting," he said. "In other cases, it has made a difference."
Daigle came in third with 24% in the new "top-two" primary system.
The results virtually ensure Mansoor a victory in November. A more centrist Republican candidate might have fared well in the newly redrawn district, which now includes Irvine and Laguna Beach. But a Democrat faces tough odds: Republicans outnumber Democrats in the district 42% to 31%, with 22% declining to state a party preference.
Daigle's loss comes as a disappointment to the Newport political establishment, which had mostly backed her.
"I think he was a spoiler," said one of her fellow council members, Rush Hill. "It was pretty clear Leslie had a pretty good shot [in November] if she moved to the middle and not to the extreme right."
Rush, a real estate investor, is a political newcomer and was significantly outspent by wealthy Daigle supporters. But the cumulative effect of Mansoor and Rush's attacks against her may have paid off.
"The strategy was to distinguish between the real moderate and not the pseudo-moderate," Rush said Tuesday night.