Brian Bilbray talks to supporters as early results him in the lead for the 52nd Congressional District seat.
With all precincts reporting, Port Commissioner Scott Peters held a slight lead over U.S. Representative Brian Bilbray in the battle to represent the 52nd Congressional District.
Earlier in the evening, both candidates said they felt confident as San Diegans headed to the polls.
The vote was narrowly split with just 685 votes separating the two candidates and there are still roughly 475,000 absentee ballots that need to be tallied.
"I didn’t see us quite this good. I think it’s going to really tighten up," Bilbray said after early results were announced showing him in the lead.
Then, when he spoke to supporters several hours later, he warned them it may take days to iron out the race.
After many San Diegans went to bed, Peters pulled ahead with a slight lead and held on until all precincts were in.
The fight for California's newly-drawn 52nd was targeted with some of the most campaign cash and coverage nationwide.
“This district was drawn to be the battleground for the Congressional seats the other Congressional seats are pretty darn safe,” Bilbray told NBC 7 San Diego. “I think this is a great process even though I happen to have to be in the battleground again.”
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Bilbray is a Republican has represented the 50th District since 2006 as well as the former 49th District for three terms ending in 2001.
Bilbray voted Tuesday morning with his daughter, who was featured in one of his many campaign ads. Before voting, Bilbray went surfing. He told NBC 7 San Diego that if the warm reception he received from fellow surfers was any indicator of the night’s results, he felt confident in a win.
Peters is a Democrat who represented District 1 on the San Diego City Council for two terms, serving as Council president in his second.
In an interview with NBC 7 San Diego at Golden Hall just hours before the polls closed, Peters said he also felt optimistic after the last minute campaigning of his team. In response to the negative attacks hurled against him, he said he was surprised, but that Congressman Bilbray represents negativity in Washington, D.C.
The two made it through a competitive primary race and faced a relatively even partisan divide in the district.