Maeinschein holds on to defeat Gover with all ballots counted

Despite a scare post-Election Day, incumbent Republican Assemblyman Brian Maienschein has held on to defeat Democrat Sunday Gover in the closest contest of his political career.

With all the ballots counted and the result certified Thursday by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters, Maienschein has won 99,880 to 99,273 — or by 607 votes. He will spend a fourth term representing residents of the 77th Assembly District, which ranges from Rancho Bernardo to Kearny Mesa and from Poway to Carmel Valley.

Maienschein did not respond to a request for comment.

"In my campaign, I sought to listen to the people, shine a light on the struggles families face and focus on what matters to ordinary San Diegans: protecting and expanding healthcare, improving our schools, preserving San Diego's environment for generations to come,” said Gover in a statement to the Union-Tribune. “While we came up just a bit short this year, I remain as committed as ever to ensuring that our representatives stand up for our community's values and start delivering on the priorities that matter to San Diego's middle class families."

Maienschein’s victory averts what would have been another brutal midterm loss for Republicans.

For a time, it looked like Gover stood a chance of adding yet another Democratic pickup to the midterm “Blue Wave.” In California alone, residents chose Democrats for 46 of the state’s 53 congressional seats, and in the state Legislature, Democrats are on pace to control 29 of 40 Senate seats, and at least 60 of 80 Assembly seats.

Trailing by more than 7,000 votes the day after the election, momentum was certainly in the first-time candidate’s favor after she pulled within 864 votes of Maienschein at the end of November.

The counting of primarily mail-in and provisional ballots after Election Day proved to greatly favor Gover with her gaining hundreds of votes on Maeinschein in almost every additional count since Election Day. Maienschein’s lead did increase on one occasion by 12 votes two weeks ago.

Additionally, many of the remaining uncounted ballots at the time were provisional ballots, which tend to favor Democrats.

Unfortunately for the first-time candidate, the updated counts Friday and Monday did not prove as promising, with her making a far smaller gain than in prior updates.

By Monday afternoon, Gover pulled within 672 votes with only 1,500 ballots outstanding countywide, leaving it statistically possible but highly unlikely she may yet pull an upset.

At the time, it was unknown how many of those ballots would apply to the race in the 77th District.

Ultimately, only 383 of those outstanding votes applied to the 77th District.

There is still the possibility that any voter – not just the candidates themselves - could request a recount. This would occur within a five-day window after certification, but the recount would be at the requester’s own personal expense if it does not change the outcome of the race.

Copyright © 2018, Del Mar Times
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