In a campaign season wrought with unsubstantiated claims of a rigged presidential election, now a tight local race could be fueling claims of voter fraud.
The latest numbers show Democrat Doug Applegate about 4,600 votes behind Republican incumbent Darrell Issa in the race to represent the 49th Congressional District.
The race is tight, which is why both sides have hired observers to watch provisional ballots being counted.
But the observers cost money.
In a email to his supporters to raise money, Issa claimed that "the liberals are trying to steal the election."
He is concerned provisional ballots, which are from voters who for various reasons may or may not be eligible to have their votes counted, are not trending in his favor.
In the letter, Issa also writes: "Once the count is that close, democrats will attempt to force the registrars to allow thousands of illegal unregistered voters to influence the election."
"We cannot allow our election to be corrupted by outside influences and illegal votes," he wrote to his supporters.
“We will verify all provisional ballots cast at polling places to determine whether they are eligible to be counted,” said Michael Wu, from the San Diego Registrar of Voters.
Issa's spokesperson, Calvin Moore, said the email was sent to create a sense of urgency about the close race and the need for money to hire lawyers and observers. He said that’s something Applegate is doing, and something traditionally done in every close race.
Applegate spoke with NBC 7 on the phone. He called this consistent behavior from Issa, to make allegations without proof.