Hart ahead of Stoker in mailed-in ballots; Democrats leading in early results in statewide races
(UPDATED WEDNESDAY MORNING:) Democrats took the lead Tuesday night ins semi-official numbers for statewide races and in mailed-in ballots that made up close to 28% of registered voters in Santa Barbara County.
U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, had a comfortable lead and told the News-Press he’s optimistic about a victory.
But his Republican opponent, Summerland pediatric heart surgeon Brad Allen, told the News-Press Tuesday night that it was too early to call the race.
Semi-official results were posted by Wednesday morning on the Santa Barbara County Elections Office’s website. They included both mailed-in ballots and votes cast at the polls.
Rep. Carbajal had 44,794 votes or 60.34% of the vote. Dr. Allen had 29,444 votes or 39.66% of the vote.
“I feel very good about the numbers now. It’s pretty clear that the trend is only going to continue,” Rep. Carbajal told the News-Press by phone Tuesday night from the Timbers restaurant in Goleta, where he was watching the results with his supporters. “I’m pretty confident and optimistic that the end results will be extremely positive. I’m feeling very optimistic and very grateful that the Central Coast has pretty much elected me to represent them in Congress.”
The congressman said he sees the results as vindication of the work that he has done on legislation to help the Central Coast and of the legislation 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.
Dr. Allen, meanwhile, said it’s too soon to declare anyone the winner.
Early voting tends to favor Democrats, and the later votes tend to favor Republicans, Dr. Allen said.
“I want to see what happens as the North County comes in later in the day,” Dr. Allen said Tuesday before the Semi-Officials numbers were posted. “What I heard from a number of people was that there was heavy voting up there.”
Historically, North County is known to lean more toward Republicans than South County.
Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Senate had 48 seats for Democrats (and the two independents who caucus with Democrats) and 48 seats for Republicans, according to estimates by various news sources. To maintain their majority, Democrats need to pick up two seats, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking any ties. To achieve a majority, Republicans must pick up three seats.
The race in Georgia between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker is so close that unless the numbers change, it’s destined for a runoff vote in December.
In the House, the Republicans were ahead in the number of seats, but the Democrats did better than expected. The Associated Press predicted 176 seats would go to Democrats and 203 to Republicans. It takes 218 seats to achieve a majority.
“I think the House could change (to a Republican majority), but if it does change, it will be a minor, minor edge,” Rep. Carbajal told the News-Press. “Regardless of the outcome, I look forward to working with anyone and everyone across the aisle and with my Democratic colleagues to continue working for the Central Coast and the nation.”
Among the ballots in Santa Barbara County, Democratic candidate Gregg Hart had a comfortable lead ahead of Republican opponent Mike Stoker in the race for the newly created 37th Assembly District.
Mr. Hart, the 2nd District supervisor and a Santa Barbara resident, had 43,589 votes or 58.77% of the ballots. Mr. Stoker, the former southwest regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, had 30,583 votes or 41.23% of the ballots.
Mr. Hart and Mr. Stoker couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday night.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Democratic incumbent, had the lead across the state and in Santa Barbara County over Republican opponent Brian Dahle. In the county, Gov. Newsom had 44,467 votes or 59.24% of the votes cast. State Sen. Dahle had 30,595 votes or 40.76% of the county’s ballots.
In the lieutenant governor race, Democratic incumbent Eleni Kounalakis was ahead across the state and in Santa Barbara County, where she had 44,289 votes or 59.77% of the ballots. Republican challenger Angela E. Underwood Jacobs had 29,812 votes or 40.23% of the county’s mailed-in ballots.
Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber, the Democratic incumbent, was ahead across the state and in Santa Barbara County, where she had 44,149 votes or 59.72% of the ballots.
Attorney General Rob Bonta, the Democratic incumbent, was ahead throughout the state and in the county, where he had 43,250 votes or 59.48% of the votes cast.
In California, Proposition 1, which amends the state Constitution to guarantee a woman’s right to an abortion, was ahead across the state. In Santa Barbara County, the measure picked up 49.972 of the ballots or 67.91% of the vote.
While Tuesday’s results will make some candidates smile, others frown and the rest uncertain, at least one voter seemed happy just to cast her ballot. After the young woman dropped her ballot in the box outside Santa Barbara City Hall, she did a little dance.
Call it the Midterm Shuffle.