In the 24th Congressional District race — one of the most bitter and expensive races in the country — a defiant Republican candidate Justin Fareed said he is not ready to throw in the towel despite facing a 7.6 percent deficit against Democratic opponent Salud Carbajal with all precincts reporting.
Outcomes for the 35th State Assembly District and the 17th State Senate District, however, weren’t in dispute Wednesday.
As of Wednesday morning, Carbajal led Fareed 53.8 percent to 46.2 percent — or more than 16,000 votes — with all 448 precincts in the Democratic-leaning district reporting, according to the California Secretary of State.
Still, Fareed’s campaign declined to concede Wednesday afternoon and issued a statement that said there were still ballots outstanding and the campaign would not comment further.
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There are potentially more than 100,000 ballots left to be counted, and we look forward to seeing the results as they come in.
Statement from Justin Fareed for Congress
“Since the beginning, this campaign has been about listening to the concerns of the people of the Central Coast and taking their voices to Washington (D.C.),” the statement reads. “There are potentially more than 100,000 ballots left to be counted, and we look forward to seeing the results as they come in.”
That figure could not immediately be confirmed by The Tribune. The 24th Congressional District encompasses all of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, as well as a small slice of Northern Ventura County. San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong said Wednesday evening that approximately 42,781 vote-by-mail and provisional ballots remained outstanding. Similar information from Santa Barbara and Ventura counties was not available.
Fareed spokeswoman Christiana Purves declined to comment in response to follow-up questions from The Tribune.
Carbajal campaign spokeswoman Tess Whittlesey said late Wednesday that Carbajal’s campaign had not received any communication from Fareed or his campaign.
Whittlesey said Carbajal instead received a congratulatory phone call from termed-out state Assemblyman and one-time Congressional candidate Katcho Achadjian, whose decadeslong political career came to an abrupt halt when Fareed surprised the Republican establishment and defeated him by 2 percentage points in the June 7 “top-two” primary election.
I’ll continue to work through the very last day as a supervisor.
U.S. Rep.-elect Salud Carbajal
Carbajal said Wednesday he was “happy and grateful” to be elected to Congress in a year when progressive candidates did not fare well nationally.
He expressed disappointment in the national results, in which the Republican Party maintained control of the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, but said he’ll keep his campaign promise to work across the political aisle when possible.
“Nothing changes from my standpoint. I’m going to work with everyone and anyone ... regardless of party,” Carbajal said. “While I’m disappointed, I’m just as optimistic.”
The Affordable Care Act, the largest domestic accomplishment of outgoing President Barack Obama, was heavily supported by U.S. Rep. Lois Capps, who has represented the 24th District since 1998 and endorsed Carbajal.
Asked how he planned to defend the law in the face of the GOP’s renewed pledge to repeal it, Carbajal said he hopes both parties can fix existing problems such as reining in the cost of insurance premiums, which rose sharply following the ACA’s passage.
“I think we need to protect all the good that the (ACA) did,” he said. “There are things that need to be fixed, and I’m hoping that these are the fixes (Republicans are) talking about.”
In the coming weeks, Carbajal will attend a one-week orientation for freshmen legislators in Washington before he is sworn in Jan. 3.
35th State Assembly District
Jordan Cunningham, who defeated Democratic opponent Dawn Ortiz-Legg in the 35th District state Assembly race 54.6 percent to 45.4 percent, said early Wednesday morning he was “excited, happy and honored” to have won voters’ trust.
It hasn’t really sunk in yet.
Republican State Assembly candidate Jordan Cunningham early Wednesday morning
Cunningham said he looked forward to hitting the ground running and focusing on improving California’s small-business climate and public safety. The latter will be affected by the “mixed bag” of voter-approved ballot initiatives such as Proposition 57, which will lead to shorter prison sentences for some California inmates, and Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana use, he noted.
Cunningham said he wanted to get started right away in the state Legislature to establish guidelines for roadside tests for marijuana intoxication, for example.
I may be the only person in America that wasn’t ready for the election to be over.
Democratic State Assembly candidate Dawn Ortiz-Legg Tuesday night
Following the release of initial vote-by-mail results and a few precincts, Ortiz-Legg acknowledged her path to victory was narrow.
“I’m thrilled with the fact that we’ve had a fantastic campaign, and from the beginning, all I ever wanted was for us to have a discussion about who we want representing us in Sacramento,” Ortiz-Legg said. “I wanted this to be a race as opposed to just handing (the seat) over.”
Ortiz-Legg said it was an honor to run and thanked her supporters.
17th State Senate District
Following his 65.4 percent to 34.6 percent victory over Republican challenger Palmer Kain, Democratic State Sen. Bill Monning released a statement thanking his supporters for their “vote of confidence with (his) strong re-election performance.”
“While we run as partisans, I am honored to represent all the residents of the beautiful 17th Senate District,” Monning wrote. “With my competent and dedicated staff, I look forward to the honor and responsibility of representing all of you over the next four years.”
Kain’s campaign could not be reached for comment Wednesday.