Bilbray Headed Back to D.C.

North County voters returned Brian Bilbray to the Capitol on Wednesday.

In the 50th District race, GOP incumbent Brian Bilbray had 50 percent of the vote with 100 percent of precincts reporting. His Democratic challenger, Nick Leibham, had 46 percent of the vote, and Wayne Dunlap took 4 percent.

In other congressional news around the county, Republican Duncan D. Hunter, 31, was elected to replace his father, longtime GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter, who is retiring after 14 terms and a failed presidential race.
The nation's economic troubles and President George W. Bush's unpopularity, along with excitement in California over Democratic President-elect Barack Obama, appears to have added up to a tough environment for Republicans, but not all.

Also headed back to Congress was another Republican congressman, Darrel Issa, who, with 60 percent of the vote in the 49th District was bested challenger Robert Hamilton.

Elsewhere in the region, Democrat Bob Filner garnered 72 percent of the vote for the seat in the 51st District, leading opponent David Joy (25 percent). Fifty-third District incumbent Susan Davis, too, will return to Washing on, winning her race with 69 percent of the ballots cast, compared with the 39 percent of votes held by Mike Lumpkin.
California's congressional delegation is divided between 34 Democrats and 19 Republicans. Because of gerrymandering, most seats are safe for the party that holds them, although House members must face voters every two years.
The 4th district and the Hunter seat were the only open seats this year, and seven California members of Congress ran unopposed Tuesday.

Neither of California's U.S. senators, who serve six-year terms, was up for re-election this year.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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