While the excitement of the June 7 California primary has faded away, county election workers are still busy processing the final results.
Those won’t be official until the end of the month, said San Luis Obispo County Clerk Recorder Tommy Gong. In the meantime, thousands of ballots still need to be counted before the results can be certified.
That’s left two rival candidates in the highly contested race for the 24th Congressional District quietly waiting for the results to become official.
Preliminary results have Republican candidates Justin Fareed and Katcho Achadjian battling for second place. Fareed has stayed in second since early results were first posted on election night, and his lead has crept up from a bit more than 2,000 votes the day after the election, to a 4,368-vote lead as of unofficial results posted June 22. Fareed has 20.8 percent of the vote to Achadjian’s 18.6 percent.
Democratic candidate Salud Carbajal has already declared victory, after taking first in the race with 31.9 percent of the vote in the nine-person race.
The seat will be open following Congresswoman Lois Capps’ retirement after her 20-year-long career. The open seat prompted national attention and millions of dollars in campaign contributions thus far, promising a hotly contested main election heading into November.
While Fareed’s lead has grown, he hasn’t publicly declared victory, and Achadjian hasn’t conceded.
Campaign managers for both candidates didn’t comment on the unofficial results.
As of press time, SLO County has 4,914 ballots left to count (they last reported on June 20); Santa Barbara County has 8,197 ballots to count (last reported on June 14); and Ventura County has 19,474 ballots left to count (as of June 14). Only a small portion of Ventura County is in the 24th District.
-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay