But Vargas refuses to concede
June 9, 2010 (San Diego) -- Assemblymember Mary Salas, candidate for State Senate in the 40th District, declared victory today in her Democratic primary campaign for the Senate seat. With 100% of the precincts reporting from all three counties – San Diego, Imperial, and Riverside – Salas leads opponent Juan Vargas by a slim 336 vote margin of 1.2%.
The campaign for the 40th State Senate seat has been one of the most expensive primaries ever for the legislature. Vargas and his allies spent over $3 million dollars, outspending the Salas campaign by nearly four to one. Salas has pointed to Vargas' hefty donations from the insurance industry, in which he once held a position, to suggest that he has been unduly influenced by special interests.
“I’m humbled by the show of support that I have received from voters across the 40th Senate District,” said Salas. “This was a contentious and hard fought campaign, and I appreciate the spirited debate with my opponent. But now is the time to move on and prepare to govern. We need to get to work right away on getting good paying jobs for our community, access to quality affordable healthcare, and greater funding for education. With the economic climate in California, we can ill afford a protracted and expensive process that will end once again with my victory.”
Vargas, however, has thus not conceded, noting that many absentee and provisional ballots remain to be counted.
Salas has been the Assemblymember for the 79th District since 2006, representing parts of San Diego and Chula Vista, National City, and Imperial Beach. She will face off in November against Republican Brian Hendry in the heavily Democratic district. The winner will fill the vacancy left by Senator Denise Ducheny, who is leaving office due to term limits.