SAN DIEGO, California — “If I were a Democrat, there would be people in the streets rioting over what we’ve had to endure,” said congressional candidate Carl DeMaio to supporters at the U.S. Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego Tuesday night.
DeMaio, who would be the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress, has endured a barrage of lurid accusations in local media in recent weeks, including claims of sexual harassment by former staffers.
Initial results with 100% of precincts reporting gave challenger DeMaio a lead of 752 votes over incumbent Democrat Congressman Scott Peters as of 1:08 a.m. the morning after the November 4 general election.
“This has been a pretty negative, painful campaign, but we have always taken the high road,” DeMaio said in a Wednesday morning press conference. He opened the conference with, “I am very pleased with where we are this morning.”
While DeMaio sits at 72,431 votes and Peters at 71,679, the 50.26% to 49.74% race is considered too close to call.
Approximately 180,000 mail/provisional votes remained to be counted in San Diego County as of Wednesday morning according to the San Diego Registrar of voters website.
DeMaio said Tuesday night, “I feel very confident that in the end, we shall prevail.”
“Now I know that some in the national media think my candidacy is unique, a curiosity of sorts because of who I love and who I’m gonna spend the rest of my life with. That’s important to me personally, but I don’t necessarily think it’s so important to San Diegans or Americans.
“I believe my candidacy is unique because I represent that new generation I just spoke of. And my friends, that new generation is more than just me, it’s millions of Americans, and that new generation, they’re ready to lead.”
“Now, we have to be patient,” he said, “count the votes, to determine whether we will have an opportunity to lead in a position as San Diego’s next member of Congress. It may take hours, it may take days, but we will ensure that every single vote is counted.”
“It has certainly not been an easy race for our campaign team, that has had to endure so much that potentially if I were a Democrat, there would be people in the streets rioting over what we’ve had to endure,” DeMaio said after commenting on the negative advertising, mailers and campaigning calls.
Congressman Scott Peters’ campaign has yet to return request for comment on the developing results.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana