Capitol Alert

Ose leads Bera but many ballots left uncounted

Democratic Rep. Ami Bera, right, and Republican Doug Ose, left, shake hands after debating at the KVIE Studio’s last month in Sacramento.
Democratic Rep. Ami Bera, right, and Republican Doug Ose, left, shake hands after debating at the KVIE Studio’s last month in Sacramento. jvillegas@sacbee.com

It could take days to determine a winner in the closely watched race for suburban Sacramento’s 7th Congressional District.

Republican Doug Ose has opened up a 3,011-vote lead over freshman Democratic Rep. Ami Bera, though county election officials estimate that more than 104,000 ballots remain uncounted countywide. Early Wednesday, Ose’s campaign pegged the number of uncounted ballots in the district at more than 60,000. The campaign said in a prepared statement that it anticipates having a final result on Saturday.

Later Wednesday, Bera noted that after Election Day two years ago he led by a slim margin but won the race by more than 9,000 votes after all of the mail and provision ballots were counted.

“We still have thousands of ballots left to count, but I feel very good about where we are today,” Bera said. “Two years ago, we were tied on election night and we ended up winning by over 9,000 votes. And just like two years ago, our grassroots campaign was the largest of any Congressional race in the country, which is why I'm confident we will again come out on top once all the votes are counted. The hard-working staff at the Sacramento County Registrar of Voters are professionals and we need to let them continue to do their jobs to make sure that every vote is counted.”

The 7th district is one of a handful of pickup opportunities for California Republicans, whose candidates are clinging to narrow advantages in the Central Valley district held by Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, and in a Southern California seat controlled by Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego. The pair is being challenged by Republican dairyman Johnny Tacherra of Burrel and former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio.

In Ventura County, Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley of Westlake Village leads GOP Assemblyman Jeff Gorell by 530 votes.

Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago

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