Salud Carbajal cruising to re-election in 24th District congressional race

U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal addressed the crowd at his election night party in Santa Barbara Tuesday after securing victory in the 24th District Congressional race.
U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal addressed the crowd at his election night party in Santa Barbara Tuesday after securing victory in the 24th District Congressional race. JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo

In the race for California’s 24th Congressional District seat, incumbent U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal is poised to return to Washington, D.C., after he maintained a nearly 14-point lead against Republican challenger Justin Fareed as the votes came in Tuesday night.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Carbajal led Fareed 56 percent to 44 percent, according to California Secretary of State results released at 7:17 a.m. Wednesday.

Late Tuesday night, though there was still counting to be done, Carbajal said he was confident his lead would hold if not expand.

“I’m feeling great and I’m very thankful to the electorate for placing their trust in me to represent them in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “I’m elated.”

Fareed’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment late Tuesday night.

Carbajal held a slimmer lead against Fareed in early results in San Luis Obispo County — 52.3 percent to 47.7 percent, with 100 percent of precincts reporting — according to results released by the San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder’s Office at about 12:43 a.m. In Santa Barbara County, Carbajal led Fareed 59 percent to 41 percent, with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

The 24th Congressional District represents roughly 740,000 residents in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and northern Ventura counties.

Carbajal said he started Tuesday at 5 a.m. with his campaign volunteers, who canvassed neighborhoods and made phone calls all day. Carbajal said that his campaign was fueled by the support of roughly 200 volunteers.

He said he was excited that Democrats took control of the House of Representatives Tuesday, which he said will give he and his colleagues tools needed to enact checks and balances on the administration of President Donald Trump.

“This election was a referendum on the divisive rhetoric and corruption coming out of the White House,” Carbajal said.

In the meantime, Carbajal said he is committed to his priorities of reducing healthcare costs and pursuing water security for the Central Coast.

Despite his party taking the majority in the House, Carbajal pledged to continue to find opportunities to reach across the aisle when possible.

The race represents the second time the former Santa Barbara County supervisor and the Santa Barbara businessman have faced off, but it marks Fareed’s third run for the House of Representatives.

In his first campaign in 2014, Fareed was one of five Republicans to challenge longtime Democratic Congresswoman Lois Capps, but was defeated by a mere 615 votes in the June primary of that year by fellow Republican Chris Mitchum. Mitchum went on to lose to Capps 52 percent to 48 percent.

After beating out a crowded field of candidates in the June 2016 primary election, Fareed came within 7 percentage points of Carbajal in the November General Election, carrying San Luis Obispo County by 3 points. But Fareed, who was seven points behind with all precincts reporting on election night, did not concede the loss until two weeks later.

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In the June primary election this year, Fareed defeated fellow Republican challenger and Morro Bay engineer Michael Erin Woody to advance against Carbajal in Tuesday’s election.

Though some $5 million poured into the race for the 24th Congressional District in 2016, making it one of the most expensive congressional races in the country, both candidates reported raising between 54 and 61 percent of what they had two years prior.

Matt Fountain 781-7909, @mattfountain1
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