Rep. Brownley apparent winner in tight congressional race, AP says

AP declares Rep. Julia Brownley winner in tight congressional race

 Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) declared victory Wednesday after the Associated Press named her the winner of one of the closest congressional races in the nation.

  The latest vote count update showed her running about 2,400 votes ahead of military veteran and Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo).

 "I am honored to have the privilege to continue serving as Ventura County's congresswoman," Brownley said in a statement issued by her campaign.  "This was a hard fought race and I have the utmost respect for Jeff Gorell -- especially for his service to our country."

Gorell said he will wait until more ballots are counted before drawing a conclusion about the contest's outcome.

Brownley is the third of four freshman House Democrats from California to have survived strong GOP challenges.  Reps. Scott Peters of San Diego and Raul Ruiz of Palm Desert won their contests.

The fourth,  Rep. Ami Bera of Elk Grove, was  running slightly ahead of  former congressman Doug Ose, according to Wednesday's update, in a race still too close to call.

In one of the biggest surprises of the election, Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) was narrowly trailing Republican dairy farmer Johnny Tacherra in Wednesday's updated tally. Costa had been expected to win handily.

Counties have until Dec. 2 to finish counting ballots in the Nov. 4 election. Losing candidates can ask for a recount but must pay for it in advance and would be reimbursed only if the recount changes the election's outcome.

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5:23 p.m.: This post has been updated to include a comment from Assemblyman Jefff Gorell.

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