U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, has maintained his big lead in his bid for a fourth term, according to semi-official results from the Santa Barbara County Elections Office.
Rep. Carbajal, who told the News-Press Tuesday night he was optimistic about the outcome, had 44,794 votes or 60.34% of the vote. Dr. Brad Allen, the Republican pediatric heart surgeon who lives in Summerland, had 29,444 votes or 39.66%.
Those numbers include both mail-in ballots and votes cast at the polls.
At this point, it seems clear that the congressman will start his new term in January.
When asked if he was conceding the race, Dr. Allen told the News-Press on Wednesday, “From what I’ve seen in the results, it appears that Salud’s lead is almost insurmountable.
“I’m saddened by the results because we still need to send people with real-life experience to Washington instead of sending career politicians who follow their party’s ideology,” Dr. Allen said, adding, “I wanted to thank the people who voted for me. It was an honor to run and be the candidate.”
Dr. Allen noted he is not ruling out another bid for the 24th Congressional District seat in 2024.
Rep. Carbajal told the News-Press he saw Tuesday’s results as vindication of the work he has done on legislation to help the Central Coast and of legislation that passed by the Democratic-controlled Congress, including the Inflation Reduction Act, the bipartisan infrastructure law, the CHIPS and Science Act, gun control legislation and legislation that helps veterans.
The congressman added that he was grateful to his supporters.
Rep. Carbajal’s lead in the election came amid other good news for Democrats, who did better than expected in Tuesday’s general election.
With all of the country’s problems, Dr. Allen said he was surprised that the anticipated red wave didn’t happen.
The Associated Press predicted Democrats have secured 176 seats in the House; Republicans, 203 seats. A majority requires 218 seats.
Dr. Allen said he thought the factors benefitting the Democrats included concern over the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and President Joe Biden’s success in connecting Republican candidates with former President Donald Trump. Mr. Biden appealed to those who voted against Mr. Trump in the 2020 election.
“Our country is so divided at this time, it wouldn’t matter what your party believes, you’re going to vote this way,” Dr. Allen said. “You can’t imagine the other side can do any better.”
Dr. Allen said abortion will be less of issue in 2024 after people realize they can get abortions via pills that are protected by the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause.
The pills are mifepristone and misoprostol.
Dr. Allen also noted people should realize that the U.S. Supreme Court was ruling that abortion laws should be decided by the states, which means Congress couldn’t pass a federal abortion ban under the court’s ruling.
In the Senate, Democrats and Republicans both had 48 seats, according to estimates by various news sources. (Technically, the Democrats have secured 46 seats, and the two independent senators who caucus with them were projected to have won their re-election.)
Democrats need two more seats to maintain their majority, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking ties. The Republicans need three more seats.
It may be a while before America knows who controls the Senate. The Senate race in Georgia was split pretty evenly between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican opponent Herschel Walker. Unless one of the candidates gets more than 50% of the vote, there will be a runoff election in December.