Justin Fareed, the three-time Republican candidate for the Central Coast’s 24th Congressional District, conceded defeat to incumbent Salud Carbajal on Wednesday morning, when unofficial results had him trailing by 12 percentage points.
“The votes cast in yesterday’s election have been tallied and, despite the incredible efforts put forth by our staff and volunteers, we came up short,” Fareed wrote in a emailed statement to supporters at 8:33 a.m.
With all precincts reporting, Carbajal held a commanding lead of 56 percent to 44, according to California Secretary of State results released at 7:17 a.m. Wednesday.
“I am disappointed in the outcome, but I know that we did everything we could have done to emerge victorious,” Fareed wrote in his statement. “Every single one of us gave maximum effort, leaving nothing on the table.”
He continued: “During the campaign, voters throughout the Central Coast told me they were sick of politics as usual, tired of not being listened to by their representative, didn’t believe our elected officials had their constituents’ interests at heart, and that it was time for a new generation of leadership in Washington, D.C.
“I share those concerns and beliefs, and remain committed to being a part of the solution in our community and in our country.”
He also sent a separate but similar email message to his campaign’s donors, thanking them for their support.
Tuesday’s election was the second time the 30-year-old Santa Barbara businessman lost the race to Carbajal, a former Santa Barbara County supervisor, though it marked Fareed’s third run for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Fareed first ran in 2014 to challenge then eight-term Democratic Congresswoman Lois Capps, but was defeated by just 615 votes in the primary by fellow Republican Chris Mitchum, who went on to lose to Capps.
But Fareed came back with gusto in 2016, beating out a crowded field of candidates to face off with Carbajal in the general election. He came within 7 percentage points of Carbajal, carrying San Luis Obispo County by 3 points.
In that race, he did not concede the loss until two weeks later. This time around, Carbajal won SLO County by just less than 6 percentage points.