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California

Republican concedes San Diego congressional race to incumbent Democrat

Republican challenger Carl DeMaio has conceded defeat in the tough, expensive race against incumbent Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego).

DeMaio made his concession in an interview Sunday with the Associated Press, which on Friday had declared Peters the winner in the 52nd Congressional District.

DeMaio trails Peters by 4,771 votes with an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 votes to be counted, according to the county elections department. The count has Peters at 51%, DeMaio 49%.

Peters, 56, an environmental lawyer and former San Diego City Council member, was seeking a second term representing a district that includes Coronado, Poway and a northern stretch of San Diego.

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DeMaio, 40, also a former council member, was defeated for mayor in 2012 by Democrat Bob Filner. When Filner resigned as mayor amid allegations of sexual harassment, DeMaio opted to remain in the congressional race rather than make a second attempt at becoming mayor.

The DeMaio-Peters race was marked by a flurry of political allegations and more than $10 million in spending by the two camps. DeMaio was also hit with allegations of sexual misconduct by two former staff members.

One of the allegations was investigated by the police department. The district attorney declined to file charges, citing insufficient evidence. The second allegation was made two days before the election.

DeMaio, who is gay, had campaigned as a “new generation Republican” who believes in the party becoming more inclusive and dropping its focus on wedge issues such as marriage and abortion.

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But Peters responded that DeMaio’s record on the council was that of a divisive figure who alienated members of both parties. Peters’ television commercials showed a film clip of DeMaio speaking to local tea party members about his appreciation of their support.

In his interview with the Associated Press, DeMaio declined to say whether he will run for office again.

“I’m incredibly proud of the inclusive and diverse campaign coalition that we forged and I remain committed to challenging the Republican Party to become more inclusive,” he said.


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