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Issa leads, Democrats also strong in early returns that could influence control of Congress

Longtime Congressman Darrell Issa took an early lead in initial returns from Tuesday’s primary, as the Republican fights several challengers to continue representing large swaths of East County.

Four Democratic incumbents are also running to stay in Congress, including one in a potential swing district, in races that could affect which party takes control next term.

San Diego County has five seats total in the U.S. House of Representatives, although some districts also include parts of Orange and Riverside counties.

The unofficial results from county registrars of voters include mailed ballots received before Tuesday and in-person votes cast at early voting sites. Those who voted on Election Day must still be counted, and ballots postmarked by the end of the day will trickle in over the coming week.

The top two candidates in each race will face each other in November’s general election, regardless of party, to represent districts that were redrawn after the last census.

Issa is running to represent the 48th District, which stretches from the U.S.-Mexico border to Temecula and includes part of Murrieta. Much of this area used to be the 50th District, which Issa currently holds.

Issa, 68, had well over half of the total, according to the registrars of voters for San Diego and Riverside counties.

Behind him was Stephen Houlahan, a 48-year-old nurse and former Santee councilman. The Democrat had gathered close to a third of overall votes.

Farther north, the 49th District covers parts of coastal North County and Orange County, from Dana Point to Del Mar, including Camp Pendleton.

Of the seven candidates, Democratic Rep. Mike Levin was well ahead with more than half of the votes, according to early returns from the registrars of voters in San Diego and Orange counties. The 43-year-old is running for his third term in a district with a similar number of Democrats and Republicans.

He faces five Republican challengers. Former San Juan Capistrano mayor Brian Maryott, 59, was in second with more than 17 percent of the current total.

Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Oceanside City Councilmember Chris Rodriguez, and other candidates all had 10 percent or less.

The 50th District includes part of north inland San Diego County and coastal San Diego.

Democratic Rep. Scott Peters, 63, has served in Congress since 2013. The incumbent led with more than 53 percent of the total.

Republican business owner Corey Gustafson, 33, had less than a third of overall votes.

The 51st District now includes part of the city of San Diego, including Normal Heights and Kearny Mesa, as well as sections of East County cities like Lemon Grove, La Mesa and El Cajon.

Rep. Sara Jacobs, 33, is an incumbent Democrat and led with more than 60 percent of the total.

Republican small business owner Stan Caplan, 73, had more than a third.

For the 52nd District, three candidates want to represent Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City and other areas of South San Diego County.

Democratic Rep. Juan Vargas was ahead with more than 60 percent of votes so far.

Republican Tyler Geffeney, a pastor and business owner, had less than a third of the total.



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