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In California’s 31st District, Democrats Hold on to Second Place

In California’s 31st District, Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar maintained a 181-vote lead over Republican Lesli Gooch Friday, after the San Bernardino County Elections Office released an updated vote tally.  

Aguilar currently leads Gooch, 17.36 percent to 17.01 percent. Gooch knocked into Aguilar’s lead by two votes on Friday.  

It is unclear how many ballots have yet to be counted in the 31st District race. But Gooch’s campaign manager said the candidate is not conceding, offering a stinging criticism of the National Republican Congressional Committee for not helping their campaign.  

“The NRCC did nothing,” said campaign manager Jeff Stinson. “The NRCC has failed this campaign. Not only that, they failed the party because they did not step in when they could have. A dollar would have won this seat. That’s an embarrassment to the party.”  

In California, the top-two vote recipients, regardless of party, advance to the general election. GOP businessman Paul Chabot is in a secure first-place position , so Democrats need Aguilar to maintain his second-place spot or else get shut out of the general election.  

That same scenario happened in this district last year , when now-retiring Rep. Gary G. Miller advanced to the general election with another Republican, even as President Barack Obama carried the district with 57 percent.  

San Bernardino County election officials have until July 1 to count every ballot in the race. Any voter in the district can request a recount up to five days after the final vote count is certified at their own expense.  

If Aguilar officially makes it to the general election, the race is rated a Leans Democratic  contest by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

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