Rep. Salud Carbajal looks poised to win re-election for his third term as congressman of California’s 24th Congressional District, which includes all of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties as well as part of Ventura County.
According to the Santa Barbara County Elections website as of late Tuesday night, the Democrat incumbent was well ahead of Republican challenger and Coalition of Labor, Agriculture, and Business executive director Andy Caldwell. Rep. Carbajal had 65.93% of the vote with 105 of 226 precincts reporting.
In an interview with the News-Press, Rep. Carbajal said that he is “ecstatic” about the election results and “grateful” to the voters of the Central Coast for putting their faith in him to keep representing District 24.
For his next term, Rep. Carbajal said the most pressing business that needs to be taken care of is for Republicans and Democrats in Congress to come together and finally pass an economic relief package to combat the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need to make sure that we continue to provide more resources to help more individuals who are unemployed, businesses that are trying to stay afloat, families that are facing evictions,” he said.
He added that there is a need for a “comprehensive national plan that provides for testing, tracing, and treatment so we don’t have to choose between our public health and reopening our economy.”
Long term, Rep. Carbajal has no shortage of priorities. These include moving forward with an infrastructure proposal that will modernize infrastructure in the Central Coast and across the country, combating climate change by investing in renewable energy and getting off of fossil fuels, using investments in renewable energy to create new jobs and make up for those that will be lost when Diablo Canyon Power Plant shuts down in 2025, and addressing the rising cost of healthcare premiums and prescription drug costs.
When Mr. Caldwell spoke to the News-Press about the vote not going in his favor, he said that he needed a far bigger turnout from members of his own party and Independents to win. Not only that, but he needed support from a portion of Democrat voters as well.
“I actually have to win a portion of Democratic votes in order to win this thing, and I don’t know if we’ve met that challenge, but it doesn’t look good,” said Mr. Caldwell, who is also a News-Press columnist.