BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) — A candidate for a seat on a Central California board may win his race, despite having died last month in a small plane crash.

Kern County Elections Chief Karen Rhea told the Bakersfield Californian on Monday that votes are still being counted, but 68-year-old Michal Hill is a front-runner among three candidates vying for a pair of seats on the Mojave Air and Space Port board.

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A flight instructor and former Navy test pilot, Hill died in October when a two-seater T-67 Firefly he piloted crashed about 100 miles east of Bakersfield. Twenty-seven-year-old student, Ilam Zigante, also died in the crash.

Rhea says that if Hill is elected, the position will remain vacant.

She says the board could then appoint somebody or hold a special election.

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The port serves as a flight test facility.

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