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Supporters cheer for Democratic incumbent Rep. Mike Levin after taking an early lead in the 49th Congressional District race on Tuesday night at the Hilton Del Mar. Photo by Laura Place
Supporters cheer for Democratic incumbent Rep. Mike Levin after taking an early lead in the 49th Congressional District race on Tuesday night at the Hilton Del Mar. Photo by Laura Place
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Democrats widen leads in North County’s state, federal races

REGION — Democrats in several key North County races appeared to widen their leads against their Republican challengers, according to official election results made available late on Monday. 

In the 38th State Senate District seat race, Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear opened up her lead over the weekend to a nearly 15,000-vote advantage against her Republican opponent Matt Gunderson.

Blakespear now holds a roughly four-point lead over Gunderson — 52.2% to 47.8% (168,762 votes to 154,708) — compared to what was originally just a half-point differential between the two candidates on the day after the Nov. 8 election. 

While not officially announcing victory yet, Blakespear expressed her confidence in the latest batch of results through a social media announcement on Monday evening, where she wrote that the state legislature had already invited her to attend a new member orientation. 

“Things are continuing to look good for our campaign as vote counting continues,” Blakespear wrote. “I’m writing this from Sacramento, where the senate has invited me to its New Member Orientation. Although it is still too early for an official victory announcement, only one candidate from each race was invited – that’s a true indication of their confidence in our success. Our lead has now increased significantly to 14,054 votes!” she said in the announcement. 

Officials estimate that less than 80,000 votes are left to be counted in San Diego County, and approximately 176,000 ballots remain to be counted in Orange County (District 38 covers swathes of both counties). 

A spokesperson from Gunderson’s campaign told The Coast News that the Republican would not be commenting on the election results until after Wednesday, when a fresh slew of ballots will have been counted in both San Diego and Orange counties. 

49th Congressional District

In California’s 49th Congressional District, incumbent Democrat Rep. Mike Levin expanded his lead over Republican challenger Brian Maryott. 

Last week, Levin held just a two-point lead (51% to 49%) over Maryott or less than 4,000 votes. By Monday, Levin led by roughly 13,000 votes (52.5% to 47.5%). 

Levin’s lead was large enough that Dave Wasserman, an analyst with the Cook Political Report think tank, called the race in the incumbent’s favor on Saturday. Levin also announced on his Twitter page that President Joe Biden had called him personally to congratulate him on his presumptive victory in the election. 

Neither Levin nor Maryott could be reached to comment on this story. 

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