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Carbajal and Panetta lead in their congressional races

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Incumbent Democrat U.S. Representatives Salud Carbajal and Jimmy Panetta are again the leading candidates in their respective 24th District and 19th District congressional elections.

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES U.S. Representatives Salud Carbajal and Jimmy Panetta will be up for reelection in the 24th District and 19th District during the November general election. - COURTESY FILE PHOTO BY IAN MARIANI
  • Courtesy File Photo By Ian Mariani
  • DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES U.S. Representatives Salud Carbajal and Jimmy Panetta will be up for reelection in the 24th District and 19th District during the November general election.

Preliminary vote tallies released after the March 5 election showed that Carbajal—whose district includes Santa Barbara County, San Luis Obispo County, and part of Ventura County—had 54.92 percent of the votes. About 24 percent of the votes from eligible voters in all three counties had been counted as of press time.

Carbajal will likely face Republican challenger Thomas Cole, who had 36.5 percent of preliminary votes, in the November election. Since only the top two candidates will move on to the November election, Democratic opponent Helena Pasquarella is likely out, according to preliminary results.

Carbajal told New Times after the election that he was feeling grateful for the residents of the Central Coast. The initial numbers were positive, he said, and it's comforting to know that the people in his district trust him.

"It reaffirms that I've been a good listener and that I've been effective in delivering the Central Coast's values and priorities," Carbajal said. "I've been listening for a number of years, making sure that I'm working on lowering costs for families in the district, addressing housing, child care, energy costs, health costs, and I think all the major legislation that we passed we are now implementing."

The congressman said he will continue to work on addressing infrastructure improvements and investments, climate change, gun violence, and the fentanyl crisis.

Cole told New Times he will work on running a more aggressive campaign in the run-up to the general election, but he's pleased to know he's close to receiving 40 percent of the vote.

"We're pretty much settled on the peace, parents, and borders issues because that's what we care about, and we're going to run on issues that people care about," he said. "Certainly, in the next 235 days we're going to bring up those issues and see if people really are concerned about their kids and if they're concerned about war and death. These are issues which should concern people."

In the 19th District, Panetta was leading the preliminary count by 64 percent compared to his Republican opponent, Jason Anderson, with 32.2 percent in parts of Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo counties where 23.5 percent of the votes been counted as of press time. Green Party candidate Sean Dougherty was unlikely to move forward to November, according to preliminary results.

Panetta told New Times that he was humbled by the initial numbers coming in, and he is committed to continuing the work that he and his team have been doing over the past year in the new 19th District.

"I want them to know that not only have they been redistricted, but that I am their member, and I'm here to make the federal government work for them," he said. "I think we did a pretty good job when it came to the three legs of what I say this job is about. That includes continuing to work on federal legislation that impacts local projects."

Panetta said that, overall, the results have been good, and he'll continue doing his job by serving the people in the 19th District.

"Congress can be very frustrating, especially here in Washington, D.C., but it's very fulfilling serving and working with the people in the 19th District," he said.

Anderson told New Times that his top priority will be to tackle immigration and work on bringing new jobs to his district.

"We need to make sure there is the ability for people to have the life their parents and grandparents grew up with," he said. "It's just about getting people to vote and get out there and get people to hear your message." Δ

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