2 California Democrats Appear Tied For Final Spot In Congressional Runoff

The tally in a California congressional primary election appeared to show an incredibly improbable tie between two Democratic candidates for the final spot on the November ballot. 

Under the state’s “jungle primary’ system, the top two vote-getters in the primary, regardless of party affiliation, move on to the general election. But the results in California’s 16th Congressional District may require an exception to that.

According to the California secretary of state’s website, California state Rep. Evan Low and Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian both received exactly 30,249 votes, or 16.6% of all votes, in the March 5 primary as of midday Wednesday. They both trailed another Democrat, former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who got 21.1% of the vote.

The winner in November would replace retiring Rep. Anna Eshoo (D) in the solidly Democratic Silicon Valley district.

California elections are notoriously slow in their tallies, thanks in part to mail-in ballots that are counted if received up to seven days after Election Day.

The secretary of state’s website listed the district’s precincts on Wednesday as still only “partially” reported, noting, “Election results will change throughout the ballot counting canvass period as vote-by-mail ballots, provisional ballots (including conditional voter registration provisional ballots), and other ballots are tallied.”

Still, at least one of the candidates slyly took notice of the count.

Low, a member of the California Assembly, posted on social media a picture of himself wearing a purple necktie and another lawmaker wearing a bow tie, captioning it: “It’s a special ‘Tie’ day!”

Under California law, a tie for second place on the ballot would mean all three top vote-getters, the leading one as well as both second-place candidates, would appear on the ballot in November, an exception to the usual process.

However, because of the closeness of the race, a candidate could call for a recount in hopes of finding at least one more vote in their favor.

As of Tuesday afternoon, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties reported about 900 ballots remained to be counted between them, though it was unclear if they were in the areas of the counties that are in the 16th District or had been included in Wednesday’s tally.

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