Darrell Issa leads of Doug Applegate in crucial 49th Congressional District race

Posted at 3:56 AM, Nov 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-09 17:24:36-05

SAN DIEGO - Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, held a slight lead today in his bid for re-election over Democratic challenger former Marine Col. Doug Applegate.

Issa had 51 percent of the vote Wednesday morning compared to 49 percent for Applegate, with mail-in and provisional votes still to be counted.

First elected to Congress 16 years ago, Issa won a bare majority of votes in the June primary election after years of being re-elected by double-digit margins.

In the months since, Democrats poured a considerable amount of money into the race, and narrowed a deficit in voter registration in the San Diego County portion of the district. Issa also represents part of southern Orange County.

As the head of a House oversight committee, Issa led numerous investigations into Obama's and Clinton's role in the deaths of four Americans - - including three with ties to San Diego -- in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.

His latest re-election try turned into a political slugfest, forcing Issa to spend more time campaigning in his district than in previous elections.

The result was notably close, with just a few thousand votes separating the combatants.

Applegate and other Democrats hammered Issa during the campaign for endorsing businessman Donald Trump for president, after spending most of the primary season backing Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

"If you start compromising what you believe and who you're going to support based on your political well-being, you're going to stand for nothing," Issa told a local media outlet. Trump's statements were "reprehensible" but Democrat Hillary Clinton disqualified herself by mishandling classified material while she was secretary of state, he said.

Other members of the region's five-representative House delegation won in comfortable fashion. They include Republican Duncan D. Hunter, and Democrats Susan Davis, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas.