What's the Scoop on Congressional Races in San Diego?

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This election cycle, many voters might be confused about what congressional district they’re voting in. After the California Citizens Redistricting Commission finalized the new district boundaries at the end of last year — this process that takes places every ten years based on the most recent census — voters may be living in a district with a new number and new boundaries.

The new 48th District includes a large part of East County including Santee, Poway, Alpine, Ramona, Lakeside and Escondido. Darrell Issa is the incumbent candidate there. He’s a Republican who was elected to office after his predecessor, Duncan Hunter Jr., was convicted of federal charges of campaign finance violations. Issa has served in Congress in various districts for a total of almost 20 years. This election, he’s up against Democrat Stephen Houlahan, a nurse and a former Santee City Council Member.

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“The redistricting commission this year, an independent body, made it a much safer district for Republicans. It’s really fully an East County district and that’s the Republican heartland of San Diego, Darrell Issa who captured the district two years ago, looks like he’s in an even stronger position against his Democratic challenger Stephen Houlahan,” said Thad Kousser, professor of political science at UC San Diego.

The new 50th District includes coastal and central San Diego, San Marcos, Coronado and part of Escondido. Democrat Scott Peters is the incumbent in this district and has represented the area since 2013. He’s facing off against Republican Corey Gustafson who is a business owner and professor.

“Scott Peters really had the battleground targeted congressional incumbent in San Diego for year after year with this district that had been a purple district along the coastal areas of  San Diego, that area has trended more blue, his district has picked up Democrats, he now looks like a pretty safe incumbent,” Kousser said.

The 51st District spans most of the city of San Diego and is currently represented by the most junior member of San Diego’s congressional delegation, Democrat Sara Jacobs. Her challenger is Republican business owner Stan Caplan.

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“It’s a very blue district. She faces a Republican opponent, but Sara Jacobs has that name recognition, a track record and a district that should be safe for a number of elections going forward,” Kousser said.

The 52nd District is made up of the South Bay, Chula Vista, National City, San Ysidro and Otay Mesa. This district has been represented by Democrat Juan Vargas for almost 10 years. His challenger is Republican Tyler Geffeney who has run mortgage finance companies and is a minister.

“[Vargas has] represented that district well. He faces a Republican challenger, but again, not expecting to be in any danger this November,” Kousser said.

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