SAN FRANCISCO—On a day that saw Republicans lose their grip on Senate and House seats across the country, the GOP appears to be holding its own in California, the state with the nation's largest congressional delegation. Before the election, California had 34 Democratic and 19 Republican congressional representatives. With most precincts reporting today, those numbers don't appear to have changed.
Mindful of the political head winds facing GOP candidates in the state, experts had predicted that as many as six California congressional seats with Republican incumbents could be in danger of changing hands in this election. Notable among them was the seat of John Doolittle, a GOP incumbent from a solidly Republican northeastern California district who decided not to run for re-election after being investigated for ethical violations associated with the Jack Abramoff bribery case.
Both parties' national campaign committees poured money into the race to replace him between Tom McClintock, a Republican state senator, and Charlie Brown, a Democratic police department official and retired Air Force officer. Though the race is still too close to call, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, McClintock leads with 50.1 percent of the vote, compared with 49.9 percent for Brown—a margin of just over 400 votes. Some mail-in ballots remain to be counted. "We think we're in good shape," McClintock spokesman Bill George said. "It's tracking our polling, and it looks like we're going to win."
Brown's campaign has not yet conceded. "It's too close to call," Brown spokesman Todd Stenhouse said. "We're going to make sure that every last vote is counted."
Democrats in the state, meanwhile, worried before the election that one of their seats in a conservative Bay Area district might potentially be threatened. As returns came in, Jerry McNerny, the Democratic incumbent, had won a solid victory over Republican Dean Andal, a former state assemblyman and tax policy expert. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, McNerney leads 55 to 45.
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