In 2010, California voters gave the power of drawing congressional district lines to a bipartisan committee. One outcome: some parts of historically red San Diego are a new battleground. Millions of outside dollars have poured into the 52nd Congressional District race. Super PACs, ominous television ads and fierce politicking are all making the race between GOP incumbent Brian Bilbray and Democrat Scott Peters a reflection of the new political norm.
The race for Congress in California’s 52nd District is one of the most closely watched in the nation. And because Bilbray holds a post that gives him major influence over national immigration policy, young immigrant activists are among the people hoping to influence the outcome.
Bilbray is chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus.
In that capacity he’s been an immigration hard-liner, opposing the DREAM Act, which would give many young undocumented students who arrived in the U.S. as children a path to citizenship.
Challenger Scott Peters has said he supports the DREAM Act, and has said that massive deportations are an impractical way to deal with the nation’s population of undocumented immigrants. But despite San Diego’s proximity to the border, he has been light on details about of how he would address the nation’s immigration challenges.
UPDATE: 10:30AM WEDNESDAY
Port Commissioner Scott Peters appears to have pulled ahead of Bilbray with a narrow lead. Democratic Port Commissioner Scott Peters appears to have unseated Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Solana Beach, in the 52nd District, but with less than 700 votes separating the two, it was unclear if remaining vote by mail ballots and provisional ballots might ultimately change the outcome.
Peters had money. He threw more than $2 million of his own money into the campaign. Last night he started out more than 3 points behind Bilbray, who led 51 to 48 in the early going. But over the course of five hours the gap narrowed, and by 2 a.m. Peters took the lead.
Peters said that's how his elections always go His victory to reach the San Diego City Council a decade ago was close, too.
"Mine seem to last many hours and sometimes days," Peters said. "I was the first Democrat elected to the 1st District; my margin of victory in the first one was 309. Ive just been through a lot of these ... they work out but it takes a while."
What impact did the Latino vote have? We'll be looking into that in the days to come.
Congressman Brian Bilbray is leading Port Commissioner Scott Peters in the race for the 52nd Congressional District. With 15.3 percent of precincts reporting, Bilbray has 51 percent of the vote and Peters trails with 48 percent.