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Peters Credits ‘Record Of Problem Solving’ For Re-Election Victory

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Photo credit: Milan Kovacevic

Democratic Rep. Scott Peters talks to supporters election night, when returns showed he was in a tight race with Republican challenger Carl DeMaio, Nov. 4, 2014.

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Democratic Rep. Scott Peters answered questions Sunday about what he credits for his apparent win in a close re-election bid and why his description of events about his GOP opponent's "campaign playbook" has been inconsistent with police reports.

Democratic Rep. Scott Peters is officially the winner in the heated race for San Diego's 52nd District. The Associated Press called the race for Peters on Friday, and on Sunday his Republican challenger Carl DeMaio conceded.

52nd Congressional District

Geography: Runs north from Coronado to La Jolla, and then east to include Carmel Valley, Scripps Ranch, Poway and Rancho Bernardo.

Party breakdown: 33.3% Republican, 32.1% Democrat, 31.3% independent

Source: California Secretary of State

Shortly after the Associated Press named Peters the winner on Friday, both U-T San Diego and NBC San Diego reported new details involving Todd Bosnich, a former DeMaio campaign staffer who accused DeMaio of sexual harassment.

Using court records unsealed Friday, the news outlets reported Bosnich has been in contact with the Peters campaign since May 29. U-T San Diego reported Bosnich emailed "campaign strategy and campaign specific information" to Peters campaign manager MaryAnne Pintar on May 29.

Pintar turned those emails over to police two days later, according to the U-T.

Bosnich then met with Pintar on June 5 and gave her a copy of an interview he did with KFMB radio host Mike Slater in which he describes what he says DeMaio did to him. CNN and other news outlets later came into possession of that interview. Bosnich also gave Pintar printed copies of the "DeMaio media plan," according to the U-T.

Pintar took the materials home, made copies of them and gave those copies to Peters, according to the U-T. Peters gave the copies to his wife, who called police on June 9. Police picked up the materials on June 11.

That series of events appears to contradict how Peters described them during an October debate with DeMaio on NBC San Diego's "Politically Speaking." DeMaio accused Peters of receiving a copy of a “campaign playbook” that was stolen during a May break-in at his campaign headquarters. Peters acknowledged that “information was forwarded to our campaign" in early June, but said the campaign immediately turned it over to the police. He said he never saw the information and that his campaign manager “looked at it enough to know what it was.”

Speaking by phone on Sunday from Spain, where he is visiting his son, Peters said he "messed up the timeline" during that debate.

"I think that's pretty clear," he said. "I wasn't expecting the question at the time it came. What I'd say is that we got information from Mr. Bosnich on a Thursday night, and by Saturday we were on the phone calling the police chief saying there are two crimes out there that are potentially related to this. From then, we cooperated entirely. When we got additional material, it did sit in an envelope for a little while before the police came to pick it up, but it was our intention to turn it over as quickly as possible and that's what we did."

Peters said he never looked at the materials. He said they were in an envelope, and only Pintar saw them. Because both he and Pintar were leaving San Diego, Peters said he gave the envelope to his wife so the police could pick it up.

"MaryAnne handled the logistics of it," he said. "I remembered 24 hours, but it was a little bit longer than 24 hours because we called the police chief, but we were trying to be very responsive and I think we were."

Peters credits having a clear message as the reason for his victory despite a nationwide trend of Republicans unseating Democrats.

"We knew what San Diego wanted, and we knew what San Diego didn't want," he said. "We spread the word as much as we could about my record of problem solving, and then reminded people that Mr. DeMaio really had a pretty extremist background, and I think we showed that."

An analysis by KPBS media partner inewsource shows Peters was able to carry some precincts in areas typically considered to be Republican strongholds. Peters said that success was due to his endorsements from some Republican leaders and his moderate voting record in Congress.

Peters was one of only five Democratic congressmen to receive the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's endorsement. The former San Diego city councilman was first elected in 2012, unseating Republican incumbent Brian Bilbray.

"I think people see me as not a real strong partisan," he said. "That was what I promised in 2012 and that's been my record."

Peters is headed back to Washington, D.C., on Monday for the final "lame duck" session of Congress. He said he hopes to focus on immigration reform, tax reform and infrastructure in his second term.

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Photo of Claire Trageser

Claire Trageser
Investigative Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksAs a member of the KPBS investigative team, my job is to hold the powerful in San Diego County accountable. I've done in-depth investigations on political campaigns, police officer misconduct and neighborhood quality of life issues.

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