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San Diego Voters In South, East Head To Polls To Select State Senator

Voters in southern and eastern areas of San Diego County are set to go to the polls today to select a successor to former Sen. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, who was elected to Congress in November.

The four candidates for the 40th Senate District seat are Assemblyman Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, real estate agent Hector Gastelum, businesswoman and author Xanthi Gionis, and Anna Nevenic, a registered nurse who lives in Cathedral City.

Anyone who gets more than 50 percent of the vote would take the office outright. Otherwise, the top two vote-getters will face each other May 14.

A victory by Hueso, a former member of the San Diego City Council, would prompt another special election to fill his Assembly seat.

Because the election is to complete an unexpired term, residents of areas of Vargas' district in the 2001-10 boundaries will cast ballots, including most of south and east San Diego County and Imperial County. Voters in Coachella Valley cities and communities such as Blythe, Cathedral City, Coachella, Indio, Mecca and Thousand Palms will also help decide the election.

Polls are scheduled to close at 8 p.m.

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