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Republican Harkey Holding On To Lead In Race For 49th Congressional Seat

A map shows the boundaries of the 49th Congressional District, which includes...

Credit: KPBS

Above: A map shows the boundaries of the 49th Congressional District, which includes coastal communities in Orange and San Diego counties, January 2018.

UPDATE: 11:15 p.m., June 5, 2018

Repulican Diane Harkey of Dana Point has taken the early lead in the race to replace Rep. Darrell Issa in the 49th Congressional District.

With 19 percent of precincts reporting, Harkey, former California state assemblywoman, is leading with 25 percent of the vote.

She’s followed by Democrat Mike Levin of San Juan Capistrano, who has 17 percent of the vote.

Sara Jacobs of Encinitas, also a Democrat, is running third with 15 percent of the vote.

Democrat Douglas Applegate of Oceanside has 13 percent. San Diego County Supervisor Kristine Gaspar, a Republican, has 9 percent, while another Republican, state Assemblyman Rocky Chavez of Oceanside, has 8 percent

Democrat Paul Kerr of Rancho Santa Fe has 5 percent of the vote.

The top two vote-getters go on to the general election in November.

UPDATE: 9:15.m., June 5, 2018

Diane Harkey, a Republican, of Dana Point has taken the early lead in the race to replace Rep. Darrell Issa in the 49th Congressional District.

With 11 percent of precincts reporting, Harkey, a former California state assemblywoman, is leading with 25 percent of the vote.

She’s followed by Mike Levin, a Democrat, of San Juan Capistrano, who has 17 percent of the vote.

Sara Jacobs, a Democrat, of Encinitas is running third with 15 percent of the vote.

Douglas Applegate, a Democrat, of Oceanside has 13 percent. San Diego County Supervisor Kristine Gaspar, a Republican, has 9 percent, while state Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, a Republican, of Oceanside has 8 percent.

The top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to a run-off in November.

Read original story.

The race to replace eight-term incumbent Darrell Issa, R-Vista, in the 49th Congressional District has attracted 16 candidates: eight Republicans, four Democrats, a Libertarian, a Peace and Freedom candidate, a Green Party candidate and an independent.

With so many candidates running, the outcome of the race is unpredictable and has been called a toss-up. The top two vote-getters, regardless of party, go on to a run-off in November.

Issa announced he would not run for the seat in January, after the seat was called one of the most vulnerable Republican congressional seats in the country. Voter registration in the district has changed over the last decade, and instead of winning with more than 60 percent of the vote in 2016, as in previous years, Issa narrowly defeated Democrat Doug Applegate, a political newcomer.

Registered Republican voters continue to outnumber registered Democrats in the district, especially in Orange County, but Hillary Clinton won the district in 2016 by 9 percentage points. Almost three-quarters of the voters in the 49th district live in San Diego County.

The 49th district stretches from Del Mar in San Diego County, up the coast to Dana Point in Orange County. It includes parts of Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Oceanside and Vista as well as Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente.

RELATED: Primary Election Results

Republican candidates:

Rocky Chavez of Oceanside, California assemblyman, retired Marine colonel;

Kristine Gaspar of Encinitas, San Diego County Supervisor, former mayor of Encinitas;

Diane Harkey of Dana Point, Cal Board of Equalization, former assemblywoman;

Brian Maryott of San Juan Capistrano, financial planner, mayor pro tem;

David Medway of Carlsbad, physician;

Craig Nordahl of Encinitas, real estate appraiser;

Mike Schmitt of Dana Point, neuro-audiologist;

Joshua Schoonover of Carlsbad, patent attorney.

Democratic candidates:

Douglas Applegate of Oceanside, attorney and retired Marine colonel;

Sara Jacobs of Encinitas, nonprofit CEO, worked at State Department, and Hillary Clinton campaign;

Paul Kerr of Rancho Santa Fe, real estate investor, Navy veteran.

Mike Levin of San Juan Capistrano, environmental attorney, former executive director of the Democratic Party of Orange County.

Libertarian candidate

Joshua Hancock of Oceanside, Marine Corps veteran.

Peace & Freedom Party candidate:

Jordan Mills of Carlsbad, Southwestern University.

Green Party candidate:

Danielle St John, San Diego’s North County, activist.

Independent candidate:

Robert Pendleton of Oceanside, eye surgeon, visual artists, K9 Party.

Issues

The issues range from whether President Donald Trump is doing a good job, to gun regulation to immigration. The candidates hold positions that mostly reflect their party’s positions on national defense, health care, climate change and the environment, though Chavez strayed from Republican Party policy by supporting Gov. Jerry Brown’s cap and trade legislation. They have sparred at debates over taxes, marijuana, education and housing.

Eight of the 16 candidates have raised significant sums of money and stand a chance of winning one of the top two spots in June, which would qualify them to campaign for the seat in November.

Endorsements

The Republican Party has endorsed Harkey, a conservative Republican, over the more moderate Chavez.

The Democratic Party has not formally endorsed any of the four Democratic candidates. Observers say that without an endorsement from the party, the Democrats risk failing to gain either of the top two spots. Some party leaders, such as the former San Diego Democratic Party Chair and Indivisible group organizers who led rallies outside Issa’s office for more than a year, have endorsed Levin.

Harkey’s endorsements include the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association, five congressional representatives, including Issa, and local Republican elected officials.

Chavez' endorsements include Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, many local elected and community leaders and retired military leaders.

Gaspar’s website does not list her endorsements. She has been endorsed by the San Diego County Deputy Sheriff’s Association.

Applegate’s endorsements include Progressive Democrats of America, Votevets.org, State Sen. Toni Atkins and a number of labor unions.

Jacobs has the endorsement of Emily’s List, the National Organization of Women and two of San Diego’s Democratic congressional representatives: Susan Davis and Juan Vargas.

Kerr has the endorsement of Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, and the San Diego City Firefighters Association.

Levin’s endorsements include the Sierra Club, the California Teachers Association and seven congressional representatives, including Adam Schiff, D-Burbank.

Campaign fundraising

The two biggest campaign spenders are Democrats Kerr and Jacobs, who have raised and spent well over $2 million each, much of it their own money. Levin has raised the most — nearly $2 million — from supporters around the country. Applegate has raised nearly $1 million.

On the Republican side, Harkey, Gaspar and Chavez have each raised less than $500,000. Brian Maryott contributed $700,000 to his own campaign.

Independent campaigns have poured money into candidates for the 49th.

inewsource reports that the candidate to receive the most support from independent PACS is Jacobs, with $2.3 million from Emily's List.

inewsource reports that, in total, candidates in the 49th District have raised more than $11 million and seen more than $5.8 million in outside spending.

Voter registration in the 49th

Orange County: Democratic: 24,000 Republican: 44,000 Decline-to-state: 22,000

San Diego County: Democratic: 94,000 Republican: 96,000 Decline-to-state: 79,000

49th Congressional District Grid

Diane Harkey, a Republican, of Dana Point has taken the early lead in the race to replace Rep. Darrell Issa in the 49th Congressional District.

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