By Miriam Raftery
November 8, 2014 (San Diego) – Republican Carl Demaio has conceded defeat to Democratic Congressman Scott Peters in the hotly contested 52nd Congressional District race.
On election night, DeMaio was on top by a slim margin. But as provisional and absentee ballots delivered to polling places came in, Peters took the lead by over 4,700 votes. Associated Press called the race in favor of Peters this weekend with less than 10,000 ballots left to be counted.
DeMaio told a UT San Diego reporter, “Because I care about San Diego, I wish Mr. Peters the best and hope he will endeavor to represent the district well.”
The loss is the second in a row for DeMaio, a former City Councilman who lost his bid in the mayoral primary race.
His campaign was plagued by allegations of sexual harassment from two male aides, one publicized just two days before the election. DeMaio, an openly gay candidate, has denied the allegations. The first accuser had in turn been accused by the DeMaio campaign of a break-in at campaign headquarters. District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis declined to press charges against either DeMaio or his accuser, finding insufficient evidence.
Peters attracted support not only from a core Democratic base but also from the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce for his pro-economic growth voting record during his freshman term in Congress.
The race drew national attention and funding, since reapportionment has left the district with a close balance between Republican and Democratic registered voters, making it a far-from-safe seat.
Peters' win is a setback for local Republican hopes but a bright spot for Democrats in a Congressional election season that saw Republicans regain control of the Senate and widen their margin of control in the House.