In San Diego, first-term Democratic Rep. Scott Peters and Republican challenger Carl DeMaio easily outpaced two other Republicans to set up what promises to be a tough, high-spending race in the fall for the 52nd Congressional District.
Peters and DeMaio placed ahead of Republicans Kirk Jorgensen and Dr. Fred Simon in the politically volatile district that includes a swath of northern San Diego and the cities of Coronado and Poway.
Political analysts say the district may be the most competitive in California, one of the few in the nation considered a toss-up. Both political parties are expected to pour money and resources into the runoff.
In early results, Peters, 55, an environmental attorney, was ahead of DeMaio, 39, a former city councilman. DeMaio lost to Rep. Bob Filner in 2012 for mayor and remains one of the most high-profile politicians in San Diego.
DeMaio stressed his Fix Congress First platform and promised to lead a reform movement as a new-style Republican in Congress. On the City Council he was a leader in pension reform.
Peters positioned himself as a moderate Democrat able to work with members of both parties and as a champion of San Diego issues: small business, the military and scientific research.
Registration in the district is closely divided: 33.8% Republican, 32.3% Democratic and 28.7% independent. In 2012, Peters, a former city councilman and Port Commission member, defeated Republican incumbent Brian Bilbray.