Race for 52nd coming down to wire

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A nasty campaign that has featured allegations of sexual misconduct, an office break-in, oodles of outside financial contributions and national media attention will come to an end Tuesday as voters in parts of central and northern San Diego County decide who will represent them in Congress.

Rep. Scott Peters, a Democrat who first claimed the 52nd Congressional District two years ago, is trying to hold off Carl DeMaio in a race that appears to be extremely close, according to recent polling.

The political shenanigans and stakes have brought national attention to the race, along with millions of dollars from outside interests that have flooded the local airwaves and mailboxes with campaign advertisements.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis dampened the salacious issues a couple of weeks ago when she declined to file charges regarding two criminal allegations. In one, a former staffer claimed DeMaio sexually harassed him. In the other, DeMaio’s campaign headquarters was vandalized.

Dumanis cited insufficient evidence in each instance.

Democrats want to hold on to the seat, which Peters won in a narrow 2012 victory over Republican Brian Bilbray. Local and national party leaders had targeted Bilbray for years, and Peters was the first challenger to defeat the veteran GOP congressman.

Despite Peters being in office for less than two years, DeMaio has tried to tie him to voters’ negative perception of Congress.

“Because of failed policies from Washington politicians, our working families and small businesses are struggling,” DeMaio said. “It is time we act on bold reforms to revitalize the economy and get people back to work.”

Both candidates have more recently bashed each other’s performance on the San Diego City Council, where Peters served two terms and DeMaio one before running unsuccessfully for mayor.

“The last thing we need is more partisan gridlock and flame-throwing, which is exactly what would happen if Carl DeMaio is elected,” said Peters, who also served on the Port of San Diego Board of Commissioners.

In other congressional races:

— Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, is being challenged by Democrat Dave Peiser, an online retailer of environmentally friendly products;

— Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-El Cajon, is opposed by Democrat James Kimber, a neurosurgeon;

— Rep. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, faces 88-year-old Republican Stephen Meade; and

— Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, is up against former Navy SEAL Larry Wilske, a Republican.

Categories: KUSI