INCUMBENTS ON TOP HANDILY IN 4 LOCAL CONGRESSIONAL RACES, BUT PETERS FACES BATTLE IN NOVEMBER TO HOLD SEAT

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Photo:  James Kimber(D) will square off against Duncan D. Hunter (R) in November.

By Trevor Hill

June 4, 2014 (San Diego)--This Tuesday’s primary election yielded unsurprising results as far as Congressional districts are concerned. All five incumbent representatives on the ballot in San Diego County were the top vote-getters—but challengers will get a second chance in run-off races slated for November’s general election.

In East County races, November will pit two veterans, Democrat James Kimber (25%) and Republican Congressman Duncan  Hunter(70%), against each other in the 50th district, which includes most areas north of I-8 in the inland region and other communities. Libertarian Michael Benoit actively campaigned and participated in debates, but received only 5% of the vote. Kimber, a career medical professional, has made expanding and improving healthcare coverage a cornerstone of his campaign against fiscally conservative Hunter, who has sought to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Democratic Congressman Juan Vargas also scored a strong win with 68.5% of the vote, beating out Stephen Meade, who received 31.5%, in the heavily Democratic stronghold border district. Those figures are for San Diego County. The district also includes portions of Imperial County, where Vargas also won.

Incumbent Democrat Susan Davis in the 53rd Congressional District (which includes much of East County and San Diego) took on 7 contenders. She still managed to get approximately 56% of the vote. Her top contender, Larry Wilske, only managed to rake in 21%. However, when we consider that the combined vote of those who prefer someone other than Davis in office is 44%, her victory this fall is not a guarantee.

However, one Democrat is in very real danger of losing his seat. 

Democrat Scott Peters of California’s 52nd Congressional District only managed to scrape together 42.2% of the vote this Tuesday. In second place was Carl DeMaio, a Republican candidate and former Councilman who managed to get 35.9% of the vote.  The two other candidates who have now been eliminated were also Republicans. Those two, Kirk Jorgensen and Fred Simon Jr., managed to pull 21.9% of the vote between them.  It’s likely that the vast majority of those Republican votes will now go toward the only Republican option, Carl DeMaio. Peters is going to have to appeal to a body of voters that is leaning nearly 60% on the side of the opposition. Needless to say, he’s going to have to fight hard to keep his seat.

California’s 49th Congressional District representative, Darrell Issa, managed to nearly duplicate the results of the last primary elections in 2012. He went from pulling in 61.1% of the votes in 2012, to 61.3% during Tuesday’s election. Although his popularity isn’t nearly as high as it was when he first took office in 2002, he has been receiving roughly 60% of the vote since 2004. Dave Peiser, a Democrat, got 30.5% of the vote. 

Although three of our districts’ future representatives can be easily identified, the races for the 52nd and 53rd congressional districts will be ones to watch closely.

This is Trevor Hill with East County Magazine on KNSJ 89.1 FM Descanso.