In the end, Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico's quest for the Democratic nomination for state attorney general wasn't a close call.
With many vote-by-mail ballots yet to be counted, returns as of Wednesday afternoon showed Torrico, D-Newark, finishing third among seven candidates, with 14.9 percent of the vote.
The winner, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, got 33.1 percent; she'll face Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley in November's general election.
Former Facebook chief privacy officer Chris Kelly, of Palo Alto, who spent $12 million out of his own pocket, finished second in Tuesday's Democratic primary with 15.9 percent of the vote.
Torrico — whose campaign spent about $1.4 million through May 22, the most recent reporting period's end — said Wednesday he feels pretty good about finishing just one percentage point behind a guy who spent so much more than him.
"I carried seven counties. I came in second in, I think, 22 counties," he said. "In this business, we play to win, right? It was a tough campaign. I'm very proud of the campaign I ran and grateful for the support I got."
Torrico carried San Luis Obispo, Kings, Imperial, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc and Siskiyou counties, but lost the urban centers that are Democrats' power base.
In his own Alameda County, Harris took 49.3 percent of the vote to Torrico's 20.3 percent. He was circumspect Wednesday about whether he'll support Harris — whose refusal to seek the death penalty hasn't sat well with law enforcement groups that backed him — in November.
"I haven't talked to her yet," Torrico said. "I did call her to congratulate her, left a message for her this morning but haven't heard back from her."
He had stumped statewide to win law enforcement and labor groups' endorsements, but with an unusual prime issue for someone aiming to be the state's top cop: his bill to impose an oil-severance tax to fund higher education.
Torrico is termed out of the Assembly at this year's end. Fremont Vice Mayor Bob Wieckowski beat Garrett Yee for that district's Democratic nomination Tuesday, and given his party's enormous voter-registration edge, he's the odds-on favorite to beat Republican Adnan Shahab in November.
"That was a great victory for Bob. He had all my support and I think he's going to make a great legislator," Torrico said, dismissing Yee — a former Republican backed in part by insurers and medical industry groups.
"The 20th Assembly District is a solidly traditional Democratic district that will pick ultimately the candidate supported by the party, the candidate supported by labor and environmentalists, the candidate supported by consumers."
Despite California's enormous problems, "it's been a great honor and privilege to serve in the Legislature," he said. "I'm looking forward to going back to private life and being a workers-rights attorney full-time "... and I'm looking forward to trying to save some money to send my kid to college."
Read the Political Blotter at www.ibabuzz.com/politics.