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Ami Bera finishes Dems' sweep of competitive Calif. districts

With Ami Bera's victory, Democrats swept the competitive districts in California, even picking up a GOP-held seat, despite losses elsewhere in the country.

By Gabrielle Levy
Ami Bera finishes Dems' sweep of competitive Calif. districts
Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif. UPI/Facebook/Bera for Congress

ELK GROVE, Calif., Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Despite the Republican tide elsewhere in the country, Republicans failed to gain a single seat in the biggest delegation in the House: California.

The GOP had targeted eight Democrat-held seats in California in this year's elections, but on Thursday, Rep. Ami Bera's declared victory in his bid for re-election in the 7th Congressional District.

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Bera trailed Republican Doug Ose by more than 3,000 votes on election night, but by Wednesday, led by 1,432. The final tally, released by the Sacramento Registrar of Voters, was 92,394 votes for Bera, 90,962 for Ose.

The race, in which parties and outside groups spent more than $20 million, was one of the hardest-fought in the state.

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Elsewhere, Democrats beat back Republican challenges. Bera's fellow freshmen, Reps. Scott Peters of San Diego, Julia Brownley of Ventura and Raul Ruiz of Riverside were narrowly elected amid record turnout in 2012, and were seen as vulnerable in a Republican year.

Republicans also hoped to deploy a winning message against Reps. Jim Costa, Jerry McNerney and John Garamendi, whose drought-parched farming constituents in the Central Valley have been denied water to save an estuary.

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Rep. Lois Capps of Santa Barbara survived despite redistricting paring her registration advantage down to just four points, while Democrat Pete Aguilar managed to win in retiring Republican Rep. Gary Miller's district, providing the Democrats with their sole open-seat gain in the country.

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Despite failing to gain traction in California, Republicans will still enter the 114th Congress with their largest majority in the House since 1928, holding 244 seats to Democrats' 188.

Overall, Republicans picked up 16 seats formerly held by Democrats, while losing just three. One race, Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., re-election bid for Gabby Giffords' former seat, remains too close to call, while two Louisiana House races are headed to runoffs on Dec. 6.

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