California Republican Craig Huey appears to have won a surprise victory Tuesday by securing a place in the runoff in the special election for former Rep. Jane Harman's (D) seat.

The wealthy businessman, who put a half-million dollars of his own money into his bid, was in second place early Wednesday morning after 100 percent of 36th district precincts had reported.

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But State Secretary of State Debra Bowen (D), who trailed Huey by 206 votes, refused to concede the race.

"This has been a very spirited campaign and it remains very close. There are 9,811 ballots that still need to be processed — more than enough to make up the difference. We are confident Debra Bowen will be in the runoff," Dan Chavez, Bowen's campaign manager, said in a statement.

If the results remain unchanged, Huey will join Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn (D), who was the first-place finisher Tuesday, in the July 12 runoff.

Harman announced Feb. 7 that she was stepping down to become head of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, a Washington-based research institution. Her decision touched off a special-election race for the heavily Democratic district, the first congressional race to use California's new primary system.

Under the new rules, the top-two vote-getters advance out of the open primary to the general election on July 12. Had a candidate broken 50 percent Tuesday, he or she would have won the seat outright.

Anti-war activist Marcy Winograd (D) finished fourth, with less than 10 percent of the vote.