Election 2012: Upset in South Bay congressional district race - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Election 2012: Upset in South Bay congressional district race

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - An upset of sorts occurred in a South Bay congressional district, where Republican candidate Michael Crimmins earned a spot in a November runoff election in a Democratic stronghold.

In the 51st Congressional District, Sen. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, was the top vote-getter, and Crimmins placed second. Under California's new "top-two" primary system, the pair of candidates with the most votes will square off in the general election in the House races.

That second spot had been expected to go to former Sen. Denise Moreno-Ducheny, D-San Diego, who instead finished third.

Four other candidates split the rest of the vote in a district that has sent Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, to the nation's capital for two decades -- often by wide margins. Filner gave up his seat to run for mayor of San Diego.

In the 52nd District, which covers a lot of new ground in the North County after redistricting, Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Solana Beach, will be heading to a runoff election, apparently against port Commissioner Scott Peters, who edged out ex-Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, D-San Diego, by about 700 votes.

Bilbray said it was exciting to see how close the race was for his challengers.

"There was a lot of people who wanted us to spend more money but, frankly, we're looking at the November race," Bilbray told television station KUSI.

The district was shifted from being oriented along the North County coastline toward inland areas as far east as Poway. District boundaries are adjusted every 10 years, according to fresh U.S. census data.

In other local congressional races:

-- Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, will battle for re-election in November against Democrat Jerry Tetalman in the 49th District;

-- Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, R-El Cajon, was the top vote-getter in the 50th District and will go to a runoff against Democrat David Secor;

-- Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, and Republican Nick Popaditch were the only two running in the 53rd District, so both will make it to the runoff.

Among state legislative races, perhaps the most contested is for the 76th Assembly seat in the North County. Oceanside Councilman Rocky Chavez was leading the vote, with legislative staffer Sherry Hodges apparently earning the second spot in the runoff over Carlsbad Councilwoman Farrah Douglas.

All three candidates are from the GOP.

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