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California

In San Diego race, Peters appears close to victory over DeMaio

Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego) appears close to defeating Republican challenger Carl DeMaio after a costly campaign marked by biting accusations.

Peters, seeking a second term, is ahead by 4,771 votes with between 6,000 and 8,000 votes remaining to be counted, the county elections department said late Saturday.

Peters has not declared victory and DeMaio has not conceded. But supporters on both sides are declaring Peters the winner in the 52nd Congressional District that covers Poway, Coronado and a northern stretch of San Diego.

Most California Democrats in tough congressional battles have been faring better since initial tallies put them in races too close to call on election night.

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Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar declared victory late last week over Republican military veteran Paul Chabot, who conceded in the race to succeed retiring Rep. Gary Miller (R-Rancho Cucamonga) in the Inland Empire’s 31st Congressional District.

The district race was regarded as the Democrats’ best — and, as it turned out, only — opportunity to pick up a House seat in California.

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For the Record

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Nov. 9, 11:32 a.m.: An earlier version of this story said Miller’s candidacy, instead of the district race, was regarded as Democrats’ best chance to pick up a House seat in California.

This story was originally published at 6:58 p.m., Nov. 8.

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Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) continued to build on her thin margin over Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo), a vote-count update showed.

Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) was holding on to his lead over Republican activist and retired U.S. marshal Tony Amador in what had turned out to be an unexpectedly tight race on election night. The Associated Press called the race for McNerney on Saturday.

In another surprisingly close contest, Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) continued to narrowly trail his Republican challenger, dairy farmer Johnny Tacherra, on Saturday. Tacherra led by 741 votes in Saturday’s update.

And Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) still ran more than 2,000 votes behind his Republican challenger, former Rep. Doug Ose, according to the most recent update.

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In a bitter contest between two members of the same party, Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) on Friday declared victory over Ro Khanna, a former Obama administration official. Khanna conceded later Friday after a vote update showed him trailing Honda, 52.2% to 47.8%.

The continued counting involves mainly mail ballots that arrived too late to be tallied on election night, plus provisional ballots, each of which must be verified. Counties must send their completed tallies to the California secretary of state’s office by Dec. 2, but losing candidates have the right to request — and pay for in advance — a recount. Their costs would be refunded if the recount changes the result.

In San Diego, DeMaio was ahead by 752 votes on election night. But three days of counting mail ballots have given Peters what appears to be an insurmountable lead.

The count released Saturday puts Peters at 51% and DeMaio at 49%. Both are former San Diego City Council members.

The two sides spent more than $10 million as the candidates traded accusations. Peters said DeMaio was a tea party follower, while DeMaio called Peters a big-spending liberal.

DeMaio was also dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct, which he denounced as smears.

tony.perry@latimes.com

jean.merl@latimes.com

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