Cheers filled a small downtown Santa Barbara restaurant as U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) climbed a staircase to address the crowd just after he was projected to win California's 24th District for the U.S. House of Representatives for a second time.
Supporters, Democratic Party organizers, and state and local representatives had a lot to celebrate, Carbajal told the crowd on Nov. 6. Their party won back a majority in the House from the Republican Party currently led by President Donald Trump.
"What it means is that we finally have the tools and the checks and balance on an administration that has worked for the past two years to promote corruption and division instead of bringing us together," he said.
According to results released on election night, Carbajal held his seat with more than 96,000 votes across the entire 24th District, which includes Santa Barbara and SLO counties as well as portions of Ventura County. Republican challenger Justin Fareed, a businessman from Santa Barbara, saw more than 75,000 votes.
At an election night party at the Far Western Tavern in Orcutt, Fareed addressed a crowd of supporters as early voting results showed Carbajal leading the 29-year-old in his second bid against the Democratic candidate.
"It has been the honor of a lifetime to fight for you every single day," Fareed said. "It would be my privilege and honor to be able to fight for us in Washington, D.C., ... I just have to thank my family and friends from all over, from all walks of life, who have done so much to help us get to this point right here, right now."
Carbajal made no mention of Fareed in his victory speech, but instead said a Democratic majority will be able to protect health care, move forward comprehensive immigration reform, and address climate change.
"For the past two years we saw nothing but division, we didn't see much transparency, and we didn't see much things getting done. The few things that we saw getting done were for the wealthiest 1 percent in this country," Carbajal said. "So it's high time we now start moving forward programs, legislation that take care of our working middle-class families."