REGION — A pair of closely-watched state and federal races in North County have been called in favor of Democrats after additional election results were made available late on Wednesday.
Rep. Mike Levin, the Democratic incumbent representative of California’s 49th Congressional District, has now secured enough votes to declare victory over challenger Republican Brian Maryott. Levin will return to a Republican-controlled House of Representatives in the 118th Congress.
With 96% of votes having been counted by Wednesday evening, Levin had won 149,860 or 52.6% of the vote. Maryott followed at 135,229 or 47.4% of votes cast, per data reported on the California Secretary of State’s website.
“With the vast majority of votes tabulated and the race called in our favor, it is with great honor and humility that I will return to serve California’s 49th District in the United States House of Representatives again,” Levin said in a statement released on Wednesday. “Serving this beautiful District and its talented residents has been a remarkable opportunity. I am so proud of the work we have done to make healthcare more affordable, to pass historic legislation to rein in global climate change, to improve the quality of life for our veterans, to increase America’s international competitiveness in semiconductors, and to rebuild our nation’s badly neglected infrastructure. There is much more to be done, and I look forward to the challenge.
“I also want to thank Brian Maryott. A thriving democracy requires competition for citizens’ votes, and to those who voted for Mr. Maryott, I want to reassure you that my door is always open. I welcome opportunities to work together because the best legislation is always that with the broadest input.”
Maryott, who ran for the CA-49 seat unsuccessfully in both 2018 and 2020, conceded the race in a statement to The Coast News on Thursday.
“Last night, we had one of the last remaining updates from both Orange and San Diego Counties. With the results as they now stand, and relatively few ballots yet to be counted, it is apparent that we will fall short of winning this race for Congress,” Maryott said. “Months ago, we crafted the simple message: People Before Politics. I knew, our whole team knew, that it wasn’t flashy. Hell, it isn’t even catchy. In fact, it’s even a little dull. But for me, it says it all.
“We are leading with politics in this country, and every day it’s getting worse. And for me, that concern was ever present as we worked 18-hour days and pushed towards the goal of winning this seat and trying to make some small difference. People must come first, and the obligation to deliver them tangible results should be paramount. Let’s hope some of the fresh new leaders in Congress will help.”
Senate Seat District 38
In California’s 38th District, Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear won her campaign for state senate against her opponent, Republican Matt Gunderson. Blakespear will replace Republican State Sen. Pat Bates, who had held the seat since 2014 and could not run for reelection due to term limits.
With close to 100% of ballots having been counted by Wednesday, Blakespear led Gunderson 185,527 votes to 169,843 (52.2% to 47.8%), according to the Secretary of State’s website.
“I am tremendously grateful to the people of California’s 38th State Senate District for electing me as their next Senator,” Blakespear said in a statement released to the media. “From Pacific Beach to Mission Viejo, the people of this district chose to defend a woman’s right to choose, protect our environment, support small business owners and the working class, strengthen our gun laws, and ensure a clean, reliable water supply. They chose a message of hope — a message that we can accomplish anything and make life better if we come together and try.”
“To every citizen of the 38th District, whether you supported my opponent or me, I want you to know that my door will always be open. I welcome your views, your ideas, and your solutions. In the words of President Kennedy, ‘Let us not seek the Democratic answer or the Republican answer, but the right answer.’ That’s what this moment calls for.”
“To that end, I would like to offer my recognition to Matt Gunderson, his family, and his team on running a hard-fought campaign. It is a leap of faith to run for office, and there’s the hard reality that there can be only one winner. I thank him for the sacrifices made and the worthy issues he raised in this race. I wish him success and send my best regards to his family for the future.”
Gunderson conceded this race in a statement but criticized Blakespear for running what he characterized as a dirty and malicious campaign in the race.
“It has been just past a week since Election Day, and my opponent and I remain separated by a very narrow 3.8% margin. Over 330,000 ballots have been counted in Senate District 38, and there are still thousands of ballots yet to be counted, but unfortunately, it has become clear that we do not have a path forward in this race,” Gunderson said. “This is an especially disappointing result, given that my opponent’s campaign was based on lies and personal attacks, not differences of political opinion. Her campaign was the poster child of everything people complain about in politics today — devoid of substantive issue, conversation and entirely based on negative advertising and misleading information. I hope our community is better served in the future.”
Blakespear’s victory ends a contentious campaign between the two candidates, who leveled numerous accusations at one another throughout the race.
Gunderson blamed Blakespear for her purported involvement in various scandals during her time as the chair of SANDAG, criticized her for censoring critics online, and generally panned her track record as mayor of Encinitas.
Blakespear accused Gunderson of being beholden to far-right segments of the Republican party, taking money from extremist organizations, and misleading voters about his position on the abortion issue, an accusation that Gunderson, who ran as a pro-choice Republican, vehemently denied throughout his campaign.