Back to lobbying: Bilbray (R) concedes to Peters (D) in Cal's 52nd Cong. Dist.
Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) has conceded defeat in his San Diego-area district, handing Democrats another pickup with just two intra-party races yet to be determined.
Bilbray trails San Diego Port Commissioner Scott Peters (D) by 3,877 votes. He called Peters to congratulated him and issued a statement acknowledging Peters’ victory.
Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.). (AP photo)
“While Scott and I differed sharply on how to handle the issues facing our nation, now is the time to put those differences aside and find common ground to address our country’s many challenges,” Bilbray said, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Bilbray has served more than 12 years in Congress, returning to the chamber in 2006 by winning a hotly contested special election to replace jailed Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.). California’s citizen redistricting commission drew Bilbray a swing district this year.
With the win, Democrats have now gained six House seats in the 2012 election, with the GOP’s House majority reduced to 234-199.
Democrats also lead in the last two undetermined races, with Reps. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) and Ron Barber (D-Ariz.) holding small leads.
Reps. Charles Boustany (R-La.) and Jeff Landry (R-La.) will compete in a runoff next month in a merged district, but that race has no implications for the partisan balance of the House.
The Peters campaign released this statement:
“This afternoon, I received a very gracious phone call from Congressman Brian Bilbray. He wished me luck and offered his support. We agreed that while it was a tough, hard-fought campaign, now is the time to put it behind us. I thanked him for his service and look forward to his support as I transition into office.
“I’m in our nation’s capitol this week, working hard, and getting ready to hit the ground running on behalf of the people of the 52nd District. I am very grateful to the hundreds of people who walked, called, contributed and gave me their support; it was their energy and enthusiasm that put us over the top in this close race.
“There’s much to do. I’m encouraged by the tremendous group of colleagues I’ve met here so far: freshman members of Congress, because like me, they all heard loud and clear during their campaigns that voters are tired of the partisanship, tired of politicians who put party over people. I look forward to working with everyone to get things done for San Diego and the American people.”
Peters said in a brief phone interview with the San Diego Free Press that Mr. Bilbray was very gracious when he called to concede. ”He said something like ‘I’m making that phone call you’ve been working so hard to get.’” He said that Bilbray suggested that he find a place close to the Capitol to live while in D.C., and offered to assist in any way he can to ease the transition.
Peters said he would “absolutely” carry on the work that Bilbray had touted in the closing days of the campaign on cancer research. ”Not only is it an important cause, but it’s critical to the San Diego economy. We need to continue to promote basic scientific research, and hopefully San Diego will be the place that finds a cure for cancer.”
Asked about his experience at the orientation in Washington for newly elected members of Congress and the reception he had received despite not yet having been officially declared the winner, Peters said “I’m just here trying to learn this job so that we can hit the ground running,” adding ”I can’t wait to get back and visit Ocean Beach. It’s cold out here!”