California's new "top-two" primary system and redistricting will add some twists to San Diego's congressional and legislative races in Tuesday's election.
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The changes could be felt most by Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Solana Beach, who will try to fend off two strong Democratic challengers in the 52nd District, which is mostly new territory for the incumbent.
The fact that his challengers -- port Commissioner and former San Diego Councilman Scott Peters and ex-Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, D-San Diego are both Democrats will no longer matter under the new primary rules. If they collect more votes than Bilbray, he will lose his seat and Peters and Saldana will compete against each other in the November general election.
Under the old rules, the candidates would run in intra-party primaries, with the winners facing each other in the general election.
Bilbray, long a Democratic target, will have the challenge of votes possibly being siphoned off by four other Republicans in the race. Only one other declared Democrat might skim votes from Peters or Saldana.
A wildcard could be former Santee Mayor Jack Doyle, who is in the primary as an independent.
The district Bilbray will represent was shifted from being oriented along the North County coastline toward inland areas as far east as Poway. District boundaries are adjusted every 10 years, according to fresh U.S. census data.
In other local congressional races:
-- Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, faces challenges from Democrat Jerry Tetalman and independents Dick Eiden and Albin Novinec in the 49th District;
-- Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, R-El Cajon, is opposed by fellow GOP candidate Terri Linnell, Democrats Connie Frankowiak and David Secor, and Libertarian Michael Benoit, in the 50th District;
-- With Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, giving up his seat to run for mayor, Sen. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, and former Sen. Denise Moreno-Ducheny, D- San Diego, are running to replace him in the 51st District, along with Democrats John Brooks and Daniel Ramirez, plus GOP candidates Michael Crimmins, Xanthi Gionis and Bernard Portley;
-- Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, and Republican Nick Popaditch are the only two running in the 53rd District, so both will make it to the runoff.
Among state legislative races, perhaps the most contested is for the 76th Assembly seat in the North County. Oceanside Councilman Rocky Chavez, Carlsbad Councilwoman Farrah Douglas and legislative staffer Sherry Hodges -- all from the GOP -- are the candidates.
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