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Solomon: Race for Congress Still 'Wide Open'

Common Dreams staff

Norman Solomon, candidate for California's 2nd District Congressional seat.

California congressional candidate Norman Solomon says that the race for the 2nd District is not yet over and because an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 votes remain uncounted, opportunity still remains for him to beat out Republican Dan Roberts for a second place finish.

Due to election laws in California, if Solomon can overcome Roberts in vote totals, he will face off against fellow Democrat Jared Huffman in the general election. Huffman took first place in the open primary with a commanding 37.3 percent of the vote.

As of Wednesday evening, according to the Press Democrat, Solomon trailed Roberts by only 1,379 votes out of a total of 37,893 cast for the two men.

"We're not awaiting a recount; we're awaiting a full count," Solomon told the Marin Independent Journal. "There is a tendency to want to say we know what happened, and the fact is we don't. This is wide open."

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The Marin Independent Journal:Solomon: 2nd district congressional race remains 'wide open'

Huffman has 37.3 percent of the vote and Tiburon investment adviser Dan Roberts, the only Republican in the 12-candidate race, holds second place with a 15.3 percent share.

But West Marin progressive activist and author Norman Solomon, who is in third place with 14.2 percent of vote, isn't conceding. He points out that tens of thousands of vote-by-mail and provisional ballots remain to be counted in the five counties that make up the newly drawn 2nd district.

"We're not awaiting a recount; we're awaiting a full count," Solomon said. "There is a tendency to want to say we know what happened, and the fact is we don't. This is wide open."

Due to California's new open primary system, which became effective this election, the top two vote-getters in Tuesday's primary election will go on to compete in November, regardless of party affiliation.

The sprawling new 2nd district, a product of California's statewide redistricting, consists of Marin, parts of Sonoma County and rural Mendocino, Humboldt, Trinity and Del Norte counties. Marin County Registrar of Voters Elaine Ginnold estimated that there are 20,000 to 25,000 vote-by-mail and provisional ballots still to count in Marin alone. Ginnold said she expects to have the ballots counted by June 15.

Janice Atkinson, Sonoma County's registrar of voters, said there are thousands of uncounted Sonoma County ballots to tally.

"How many thousands I can't tell," Atkinson said.

Atkinson said Sonoma County typically has 25,000 to 35,000 uncounted ballots the day after an election. She said the number might be lower this time, however, due to this election's paltry voter turnout. The 35.44 percent turnout in Marin, although still a preliminary estimate, was a record low for a primary election. Atkinson said it will take three weeks to count all the ballots in Sonoma.

Solomon's support was strongest in Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino counties, where he attracted 1,693 more votes than Roberts. Roberts, however, proved much more popular than Solomon in Del Norte, Humboldt and Trinity counties.

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The Press Democrat adds:

Solomon's political consultant, Tom Higgins, estimated there are 30,000 to 50,000 uncounted votes in the 2nd Congressional District: 22,000 in Marin County and the rest divided up among Sonoma County and the other four counties in the district.

Solomon, a well-known liberal author and activist who jumped into elective politics this year, said Wednesday he has a chance to catch up.

“The trend line is very positive for our campaign,” he said, noting he gained ground on Roberts as results were reported Tuesday night.

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