Originally published June 6, 2012 at 6:20 a.m., updated June 6, 2012 at 3:14 p.m.
As expected, Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Solana Beach, will be heading to a runoff election in the 52nd congressional district. His opponent will be Port Commissioner Scott Peters, who narrowly prevailed over Fellow Democrat Lori Saldaña.
As expected, Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Solana Beach, will be heading to a runoff election in the 52nd congressional district. His opponent looks to be Port Commissioner Scott Peters, who holds a slim lead over fellow Democrat Lori Saldaña.
Peters ended with 22.6 percent of the vote compared with 22 percent for Saldaña. Should he prevail -- some number of absentee ballots have yet to be counted -- he hopes to pick up nearly all of her supporters come November. That's when he would go up against the multi-term Republican in what national observers see as a potential pick-up seat for Democrats.
Bilbray said it was exciting to see how close the race was for his challengers.
"There was a lot of people who wanted us to spend more money but, frankly, we're looking at the November race,'' Bilbray said.
Peters, who committed more than a million dollars of his own money to win a spot in the November run off, said he's ready to take on Bilbray.
"Look, Brian's been in congress for 12 years. He's trying to pretend like he's a reformer like he's never seen the inside of the building but he's got a lot to answer for a congress that is really broken," said Peters. "My whole stock at the port and at the city is making government work and solutions that's what we're not seeing in congress."
The district was shifted from being oriented along the North County coastline toward inland areas as far east as Poway. District boundaries are adjusted every 10 years, according to fresh U.S. census data.
The 52nd Congressional District has morphed a couple of times. Twenty years ago it was the 50th District, represented by Randy Cunningham. The 2010 census changed the district's number and geography so that it now runs up the coast from Coronado and then northeast to Poway. Rather than having a strong republican majority of registered voters, it is now almost evenly divided between Republicans, Democrats and Independents
Brian Bilbray serves on the House Committee On Energy and Commerce. He considers himself a moderate on some social issues, but a conservative on immigration and on fiscal matters. He generally votes with the House leadership. He has signed Grover Norquist's Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
Peters was president of the San Diego City Council before terming out and moving on to the Port Commission in recent years.
The final vote will not be certified until July 3rd, and candidates can request a recount up to seven days after that. A recount could cost the candidate tens of thousands of dollars, if the final numbers are upheld.
City News Service contributed to the information in this report.