Residents in the 24th congressional district (San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County and a sliver of Ventura County) were prepared for a long wait to learn the final tally of the highly-contested district seat, but were surprised when Republican contender Abel Maldonado conceded defeat to Democratic representative Lois Capps shortly after midnight this morning.
Maldonado, whose campaign communications director earlier in the night said Maldonado would decline to comment until results were more clear, tweeted: “A short while ago, I spoke with @RepLoisCapps, and offered her my congratulations on her victory tonight” at approximately 12:09 a.m.
The concession came as a surprise to many who were prepared for a lengthy wait to learn election results, due to a delay in tallying votes.
Though voting ended yesterday when polls closed, it will take until at least Friday to tally votes, hand-delivered mail-in ballots and provisional ballots, San Luis Obispo assistant county clerk-recorder Tommy Gong said before Maldonado conceded.
The county anticipated receiving more than 20,000 votes yesterday that will need to be counted before winners for other local, state and national races can be named, Gong said.
“It could be 20,000; it could be more,” Gong said. “We don’t know until it actually comes back in.”
Once polls closed, the different forms of votes had to be processed.
Provisional ballots are cast when a voter’s eligibility cannot be verified. In the case of provisional ballots, a judge must decide their legitimacy before the vote can be counted, Gong said.
Most San Luis Obispo County votes will be counted by Friday, however, which will help indicate tentative winners of local and national races.
“The vast majority are going to be in Friday’s update. It’s really a whole process,” Gong said.
This delay was expected to affect the highly-publicized district race between Maldonado and Capps — who for the first time in more than a decade ran in a district where she did not have a double-digit lead.
California district lines were redrawn this year, and though there are more Democrats in the new district than Republicans, that number is not enough to make up for the registered undeclared voters, who had to make the decision between Capps and Maldonado.
Throughout the night of Nov. 6, Capps and Maldonado switched off for the lead, with Capps ultimately succeeding.
Locally, incumbent mayor Jan Marx faced off against architect and businessman Steve Barasch, who claimed the city has been squandering money on unnecessary projects, and frequent mayoral candidate Don Hedrick, who was running against what he sees as corruption in the San Luis Obispo City Council.
By 11:20 p.m. last night, Marx was leading with 62.87 percent of the vote, with 100 percent of San Luis Obispo city ballots counted, according to the San Luis Obispo County clerk’s office. Barasch followed with 29.5 percent, while Hedrick trailed with 7.15 percent of the vote.
Incumbent council members John Ashbaugh and Dan Carpenter, who were both running for reelection, also won their races and will remain on San Luis Obispo City Council.