State Sen. Leland Yee might have officially dropped out of the race to become California’s next secretary of state in March, but that did little to diminish his numbers on election night Tuesday.
Yee, who was arrested back in March on gun smuggling charges, finished astoundingly well, with nearly 300,000 people checking his name on the ballot Tuesday – despite not campaigning at all since his arrest, allegedly plotting to deal weapons with a radical Islamic group in the Philippines, and maintaining a close connection with a powerful Chinese gangster who was also arrested in the sting.
When Yee pulled out of the race shortly after being charged and arrested for his connection in a federal sting, he was polling only at eight percent. After all the results had been counted Wednesday morning, Lee had earned 11 percent of the vote and finished second among Democratic candidates.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Lee’s attempt to drop out of the race wasn’t accepted because the deadline to pull out had already passed by the time he was arrested.
In spite of accusations that he was trying to procure shoulder-fired missiles for an undercover agent, Yee was a prominent supporter of gun control measures and authored legislation in California’s state Senate to limit the ability of its citizens to purchase firearms.
The disgraced state senator’s strong Tuesday numbers fly in the face of a May poll that showed 84% of California voters were concerned with corruption in their state legislature.
The results on Tuesday left Republican Pete Peterson and Democrat Alex Padilla as the two remaining contenders in the race and they will face off against each other in November.