Skip to content

Third Democrat concedes in California primary to succeed Eshoo

Recount finds Evan Low narrowly won second place after an earlier tie

A recount puts two Democrats on the November ballot to fill the seat of retiring California Democratic Rep. Anna G. Eshoo.
A recount puts two Democrats on the November ballot to fill the seat of retiring California Democratic Rep. Anna G. Eshoo. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There will be only two candidates, both Democrats, in the race to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Anna G. Eshoo in California after a lengthy count and recount of results in the March 5 primary that initially looked like it ended in a tie for second place.

The Associated Press had not yet called the race as of 6 a.m. Eastern, but the third-place finisher conceded on Wednesday.

When the votes in the 16th District’s nonpartisan primary were first tallied, former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo came in first with 21 percent. But two fellow Democrats, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian and state Assemblymember Evan Low, were tied for second with 16.6 percent each. Under California’s system, intended to use primaries to produce two-person races in November, the tie would have put all three on the fall ballot.

A recount has found Low won second place by five votes, booting Simitian from the ballot.

“The good news is the 16th congressional district’s long painful exercise counting the votes is over! The not-so-good news: we have come up short. I lost, and I concede. I trust the process, and I accept the result,” Simitian said in a statement, noting that he had spoken with both of the top two finishers.

Low thanked supporters and voters in a statement.

“We are very excited that my advancement into the general election was reaffirmed and I now look forward to the real work of tackling the big issues facing our country like reproductive freedom and affordability,” Low said in a statement. “This election reminds us that every single vote and form of participation matters.”

Low’s campaign manager had previously criticized Liccardo’s campaign for the fact that the recount happened, arguing that the first-place candidate preferred the three-candidate general election ballot. Jonathan Padilla, the San Jose voter who called for the recount effort, sought to minimize his ties to Liccardo, telling Politico in a story published Tuesday, “I’m not as close to Sam as people probably think. I’m not one of Sam’s best friends.”

Liccardo in a statement thanked Simitian and touted endorsements he had gotten from other Democrats, including several House incumbents.

“Despite the efforts of some to stop this recount, we should all celebrate that democracy prevailed,” he said. “Previously uncounted votes were counted. We can now re-focus on our work ahead, toward solutions to our region’s and nation’s great challenges, such as homelessness, the high cost of living, climate change, public safety, and protecting reproductive rights.”

Eshoo, 81, said in November she would retire rather than seek a 17th term. Her district is heavily Democratic and backed Joe Biden over Donald Trump in 2020 by 53 percentage points, according to a tally by Inside Elections.

Daniela Altimari contributed to this report.

Recent Stories

Spared angry protests at Morehouse, Biden pushes post-war Gaza plan

Capitol Lens | Duck dodgers

Election year politics roil the EV transition

Thompson’s animal welfare, whole milk priorities in farm bill

Schumer plans vote on border security bill that GOP blocked

Republicans look to reverse rule based on gun law they backed