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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on November 8th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 35 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 35

Capps holds her seat, but in a new district

BY RYAN MILLER

Minutes before midnight on Nov. 6, former state senator and lieutenant governor Abel Maldonado released a statement summing up the election results in his race to represent the state’s new 24th Congressional District:

“A short while ago, I spoke with Rep. Lois Capps, and offered her my congratulations on her victory tonight,” he wrote. “For anyone today who supported my campaign, I am honored and grateful for your support, not just today, but throughout my life in public service.

“I want to thank my family for all of their love and support and I look forward to being able to move beyond the demands of a campaign to spend more time with them. A campaign like this would not have been possible without the hard work of volunteers taking time out of their lives to make phone calls and walk precincts, and I am so thankful to all of you who have given this campaign—your campaign—so much. I have been blessed to have a talented and dedicated team that has made this campaign the focal point of their lives for the last five months. It wasn’t easy, but nothing ever worth fighting for ever is and even though the outcome wasn’t the one we had hoped for, this was a campaign we all can be proud of.”

The campaign was hard fought, possibly because it was waged over new ground. Capps’ district used to be the 23rd, but the Citizen’s Commission on Redistricting altered boundaries for the Central Coast in 2011, putting all of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties into the 24th.

While many analysts and candidates believed the fresh district would be more competitive than the infamously convoluted 23rd, Capps pointed out that the new borders created a region similar to the old 22nd, a district she represented before 2002.

This race also marked the first under California’s new open primary laws, which advanced the top two vote-getting candidates regardless of their party. Capps and Maldonado initially squared off against Matt Boutté and Chris Mitchum before the field narrowed to the two longtime area politicians.

“I am once again humbled that Central Coast voters have entrusted me to represent them in Congress, and I’m especially grateful for the hundreds of volunteers who gave us this great victory in the election,” Capps said in a statement released the morning of Nov. 7. “I look forward to working with Democrats and Republicans to solve our most immediate problems. We must work towards that which unites us, rather than that which divides us.”

In Santa Barbara County, a little more than 57 percent of the votes went to Capps, while a bit less than 43 percent went to Maldonado. The numbers were closer in San Luis Obispo County, where Capps sat at 51.53 percent, and Maldonado nabbed 48.47 percent.