UPDATE: Democrat Alex Padilla will face Republican Pete Peterson in November. With 100 percent of the precincts counted, let's talk about those 287,590 people who voted for federally indicted alleged gun-runner, Leland Yee. See below.

Democratic California state Sen. Alex Padilla and Republican public policy honcho Pete Peterson are neck-and-neck in the crowded race for Secretary of State. Peterson narrowly leads in early returns, with 29.8 percent over Padilla, who is in second place with 28.8 percent.

Despite being the center of an alleged gun-running scandal unearthed by the feds, Democratic state Sen. Leland Yee is in third with 10.7 percent. Trailing behind are independent Dan Schnur, Democrat Derek Cressman, Republican Roy Allmond, Democrat Jeffrey Drobman and Green Party candidate David Curtis. 
MIT grad Padilla is endorsed by several statewide politicians such as U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Peterson, the executive director of Pepperdine's Davenport Institute for Public and Civic Engagement, has the unique support of the Los Angeles Times, which has a long history of backing Democrats.

Pete Peterson; Credit: Courtesy Pete Peterson Campaign

Pete Peterson; Credit: Courtesy Pete Peterson Campaign

With the new “top-two” rule, the two candidates with the most votes will face off in the November election regardless of party affiliation.

Updated at 9:52 p.m.:
The very early numbers seem to be holding now that 14.4 percent of the vote is in: Pete Peterson has 29.8 percent, Alex Padilla as 28.7 percent, Leland Yee has 10.7 percent (!!), Dan Schnur has 9.2 percent and Derek Cressman has 7 percent. 

Updated at 11:13 p.m.:
Republican Pete Peterson is hanging onto his lead over Alex Padilla, who was widely expected to suffer from the split Democratic vote with Derek Cressman. It appears these two will face one another in November.

But who knew that Leland Yee would have 10.6 percent of the vote with 34.8 percent of precincts counted statewide? This must make good-government advocate and moderate Dan Schnur, who is trailing Yee, positively ill. 

The numbers: Pete Peterson 614,694 vote or 29.4%, Alex Padilla 609,597 or 29.1%, Leland Yee 221,038 or 10.6%, Dan Schnur 191,540 or 9.2%, Derek Cressman 151,814  or 7.3%,. 

Updated at 3:40 a.m.: 
Who are these people? Did they read the news? Enough Californians to populate and in fact overfill the City of Irvine chose to vote for Leland Yee, who is facing big-time corruption charges. In fact, he came in third.

The numbers, with 100 percent of precincts counted: Alex Padilla 884,857 votes or 30.1%, Pete Peterson 871,388 or 29.6%, Leland Yee 287,590 or 9.8%, Dan Schnur 263,028 or 8.9%, Derek Cressman 219,382 or 7.5%.

Jill Stewart and Ani Ucar also contributed to this story.

LA Weekly