FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The highly contested race for State Assembly District 27 has been sitting almost in a dead tie.

Democrat Esmeralda Soria and Republican Mark Pazin are both hoping the people of the newly redrawn State Assembly District 27 will choose them to take a seat in Sacramento and bring change to the Central Valley.

“First thing I’m going to do is introduce – again – to suspend the gas tax,” Pazin said.

“Getting that medical school done, that’s top of the list. Healthcare is a huge issue in our communities,” Soria said.

Pazin, who is the former sheriff for Merced County, raised over $1.2 million for his campaign while Soria raised nearly $3 million. District 27 is a newly-established seat representing Merced, Madera and western Fresno County.

District 27 is 43% democrat and just over 22% Republican. Pazin says he believes the redrawn district does not help his campaign.

“They bifurcated Merced County which I’m not happy with. Because of redistricting, they took out a portion which would have probably been more favorable towards me,” he said.

Meanwhile, Soria says she focused a lot of her efforts on Merced, trying to make a name for herself in a county Pazin spent years serving as sheriff.

“We knew from the beginning that we needed to build the broadest coalition to be able to ensure a victory in this general election,” Soria said.

Official election results are certified on December 16. If elected, it would be both Soria and Bazin’s first time winning an elected office at the state level.