Sacramento suburb Assembly seat flips Republican after Ken Cooley concedes to Josh Hoover

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Sacramento’s eastern suburbs will have Republican representation in the California Assembly after Democratic incumbent Ken Cooley on Tuesday conceded to GOP newcomer Josh Hoover.

Hoover, a Republican who served as chief of staff to Rocklin Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, received a concession call from Cooley on Tuesday evening, according to Andre Levesque, Hoover’s campaign consultant.

Cooley was “gracious in defeat and congratulated me on my victory,” Hoover said in a statement.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve the people of the 7th Assembly District and represent our community in the state Legislature,” Hoover said. “Thank you to the voters for entrusting me with this responsibility, it is one that I accept with gratitude and humility.”

Cooley has represented Rancho Cordova, Citrus Heights and other suburban communities in the California Legislature since 2012; he previously served on the Rancho Cordova City Council, including as mayor, for nearly a decade.

But he faced an uphill battle to win the 7th Assembly District after redistricting shifted voter registration margins to make the area more competitive for Republicans. Hoover hoped to draw on the base of voters he’s represented as a member of the Folsom Cordova Unified School District Board to help him earn the Assembly seat.

The state Democratic Party spent millions of dollars to help Cooley retain his seat, and the race became one of the most expensive and competitive legislative races in California.

Cooley took the lead after the initial Nov. 8 vote count, but Hoover chipped away at it over time. At one point, only 16 votes separated the Republican and the Democrat.

Hoover first overtook Cooley on Nov. 22, and Tuesday’s ballot drop showed him leading by 1,477 votes.

The Sacramento Bee has reached out to Cooley’s campaign for a comment on the concession.