(Editor's note: Because of the late hours, SDGLN will not update this story until Wednesday morning.)
SAN DIEGO, California -- On an Election Day marked by a Republican landslide nationwide, one political race could not be closer. The District 52 congressional race between openly gay Republican Carl DeMaio and incumbent Democrat Scott Peters was going down to the wire without a clear winner known by midnight.
With 70.5% of the votes counted, DeMaio had 50.17% of the vote while Peters had 49.83%. That amounts to a lead of 415 votes.
Peters, a freshman congressman, is familiar with close races. He eeked past longtime Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray by only 6,956 votes, and the race was not conceded until Nov. 16, 2012.
The San Diego County elections board website does not indicate where those votes were cast. DeMaio has his strongest support in Republican-held North County, while Peters boosts his best stronghold in Democratic-held city locations. And if recent elections are any indications, city precincts are among the last to be counted.
DeMaio appeared confident of victory at an 11 pm speech to supporters and local newscasts, but the same could be said of Peters during his media appearance.
This race attracted millions of dollars in campaign cash with endless ads running on radio and TV. The Republicans made the race a priority, even if DeMaio is not your father's GOP candidate in that he is for gay marriage and LGBT rights, is pro-choice and openly critical of far-right fringe groups that are fighting for control of the conservative political party.
Not only that, the race got into some of the worst mudslinging observed in recent memory. DeMaio's headquarters was burglarized, computer equipment and furniture smashed, and his campaign playbook ended up in the hands of Peters' campaign manager for at least a full day before being turned over to police. The DeMaio campaign accused a fired staffer in the break-in, who then went public and accused his former boss of sexual harassment. The DA declined to press charges in the case and cleared DeMaio of any wrongdoing. A second man, just days before the election, also lobbed unsubstantiated allegations of sexual harassment at DeMaio. But the DeMaio camp quickly pointed out that Peters' campaign manager had her fingers all over a chain of emails sent out between the two accusers and her office.
Most voters seemed to shrug at the mudslinger as politics as usual in San Diego.
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As a matter of full disclosure, Hale Media Publisher Johnathan Hale has a personal relationship with Carl DeMaio.