Elections

24th District race between Fareed, Achadjian still too close to call

It’s still not clear whether Santa Barbara Republican Justin Fareed or San Luis Obispo Republican Katcho Achadjian will face off against Democrat Salud Carbajal in the Nov. 8 general election for the 24th District congressional seat.
It’s still not clear whether Santa Barbara Republican Justin Fareed or San Luis Obispo Republican Katcho Achadjian will face off against Democrat Salud Carbajal in the Nov. 8 general election for the 24th District congressional seat. newsroom@thetribunenews.com

The race to determine who will face Democrat Salud Carbajal in the Nov. 8 general election for the 24th District congressional seat remained too close to call Friday after more provisional and mail-in ballots were counted.

Following new vote totals in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, the California secretary of state’s updated count showed Santa Barbara Republican Justin Fareed with 20.7 percent of the vote over San Luis Obispo Republican Katcho Achadjian’s 19.0 percent.

In the “top-two” congressional primary, two candidates, regardless of political party, advance to the Nov. 8 general election. Carbajal, a three-term Santa Barbara County supervisor, handily won the top slot with 31.9 percent of the vote.

The new vote totals also show that in San Luis Obispo County, a majority of voters went for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. While the initial tally on election night put Hillary Clinton ahead, the latest tally, which includes about 19,000 provisional and mail-in ballots counted since election day, gives Sanders 50.7 percent and Clinton 48.5 percent among San Luis Obispo County voters. Statewide, Clinton was still far ahead with 55.8 percent while Sanders has 43.3 percent.

In the 24th District race, Achadjian, 64, is fighting for his political career since he terms out of the state Assembly in January. Fareed, 28, a Santa Barbara businessman and former congressional aide, has capitalized on Achadjian’s long tenure in politics and used his self-described “outsider” status to outraise Achadjian by nearly $350,000 during the campaign.

Fareed and Achadjian jousted for runner-up status most of election night, with Fareed finishing with 20.5 percent of the vote, followed by Achadjian with 18.9 percent. Just 2,357 votes separated the two candidates after ballots were tallied in the district’s 369 precincts. On Friday, that number grew to 3,020 votes.

Just who will prevail won’t be known for days.

In San Luis Obispo County, 9,524 ballots remain to be counted, including 4,476 mail-in ballots, 4,613 provisional ballots and 435 ballots that were not counted for various reasons. The office hasn’t yet scheduled its next count.

The number of uncounted ballots in Santa Barbara County was not available Friday, though a county clerk employee said results from a third count would be published at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The 24th Congressional District also includes a small slice of northern Ventura County.

In the race for the 35th Assembly District seat being vacated by Achadjian, San Luis Obispo Democrat Dawn Ortiz-Legg maintained her lead over Templeton Republican Jordan Cunningham with a strong 44.6 percent of the vote to Cunningham’s 37.7 percent. Republican Steve LeBard had 14.6 percent, and Libertarian Dominic Rubini had 3.1 percent. Ortiz-Legg and Cunningham will face off in November.

The new vote totals did little to change the outcome of San Luis Obispo County’s three supervisory races.

Pozo rancher Debbie Arnold continued to best challenger Eric Michielssen 53.3 to 46.4 percent in the 5th District supervisory race, securing re-election.

Incumbent 3rd District County Supervisor Adam Hill maintained his lead over challenger Dan Carpenter, with 41.8 percent of the vote to Carpenter’s 31.6 percent. Challenger Debbie Peterson remained in third place with 26.4 percent and will not advance to the general election.

In the 1st District race, Friday’s ballots did not push John Peschong over the 50 percent needed to avoid a November runoff against second-place Steve Martin. After Friday’s update, Peschong remained ahead with 45.9 percent of the vote to Martin’s 34.9 percent. John Hamon had 16 percent, and Dale Gustin had 2.9 percent of the vote.

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