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Incumbent Rep. Juan Vargas Leads In Race For 51st Congressional District Against Juan Hidalgo

Congressman Juan Vargas (left) is seen in an official portrait. Juan Hidalgo is seen in a campaign photo.
Courtesy photos
Congressman Juan Vargas (left) is seen in an official portrait. Juan Hidalgo is seen in a campaign photo.
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UPDATE: 7:08 a.m., March 4, 2020

With only two candidates in the race, it's guaranteed that incumbent Congressman Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) will face Republican Juan Hidalgo in the November runoff for California's 51st District.

Tuesday's results had Vargas with more than 68% of the vote. He's faced off against Hidalgo in 2016 and 2018.


Original story

Congressman Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) is running for re-election in California's 51st District against a familiar foe, Republican Juan Hidalgo.

The two faced off in 2016 and 2018, and each time Vargas won by a comfortable margin. He was first elected to Congress in 2012 after serving eight years on the San Diego City Council and six years in the state Assembly.

Activist and Democrat Aeiramique Glass-Blake had planned to challenge Vargas in the March 3 primary, but ultimately failed to gather enough signatures to get on the ballot. That left only Vargas and Hidalgo, a Marine Corps veteran, on the ballot in the March primary, meaning the two are all but guaranteed to make it through to the November general election.

The district stretches from City Heights to the border with Mexico, running east to include Imperial County. Democrats far outnumber Republicans in the district, making Vargas the clear favorite.


Thad Kousser, a political science professor at UC San Diego, said Republicans still have an interest in fielding candidates in the race, if for no other reason than to provide a "plan B" should Vargas be hit by a scandal or cast a vote that is out of step with his constituents.

"That's what Juan Hidalgo is doing, he's positioning himself to take this seat if Juan Vargas somehow trips," Kousser said.

The 2024 primary election is March 5. Find in-depth reporting on each race to help you understand what's on your ballot.