San Diego Congressional races heating up - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego Congressional races heating up

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VISTA (CNS) - The long political career of Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, will be on the line when North County voters go to the polls Tuesday following a bitter campaign against former Marine Col. Doug Applegate, a Democrat.

Issa, first elected to Congress 16 years ago, won a bare majority of votes in the June primary election after years of being reelected by double- digit margins.

Democrats have since poured a considerable amount of money into the race, and narrowed a deficit in voter registration in the San Diego County portion of the district. Issa also represents a portion of southern Orange County.

President Barack Obama commented on the race last month during a fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in La Jolla, calling an Issa mailer "the definition of chutzpah."

As the head of a House oversight committee, Issa led numerous investigations into Obama's and Clinton's role in the deaths of four Americans - - including three with ties to San Diego -- in Benghazi, Libya.

But now in a political slugfest, Issa has spent more time campaigning in his district than in previous elections.

"Just a few days ago President Obama came to my district and said that my record of holding government accountable all these years took a lot of chutzpah -- and I've got to say I agree," Issa said in a statement. He said it took a lot of guts to continue his investigations.

His campaign contends that Applegate will bring a far-left agenda to the district.

The struggle to unseat Issa has focused on his association with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

"It is beyond comprehension to me that my opponent Darrell Issa thinks this man should be president," Applegate said in a recent statement.

Issa backed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in the presidential primary season before turning to Trump, who raised eyebrows Tuesday when he tweeted: "DarrellIssa is a very good man. Help him win his congressional seat in California."

The other Republican in the region's five-representative House delegation, Duncan D. Hunter, will defend his East County seat against Democrat Patrick Malloy, a realtor.

Of the three Democrat incumbents:

-- Scott Peters will try for another term in his central San Diego County seat against Republican businesswoman Denise Gitsham;

-- Juan Vargas will face Republican retired Marine Juan Hidalgo Jr. in a district that represents southern San Diego and Imperial counties; and

-- Susan Davis will run for reelection in her San Diego, eastern Chula Vista and La Mesa district against Republican surgeon Dr. James Veltmeyer.

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