SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Democratic Rep. Jim Costa has narrowly won enough votes to retain his seat in a California district where Democrats hold a 20-point registration advantage.
Costa, a conservative Democrat, beat Republican Andy Vidak, a farmer running for his first political office, in the 20th Congressional District.
With just a small number of ballots outstanding Tuesday — three weeks after Election Day — Costa had a lead of 3,031 votes over Vidak, 51.7 percent to 48.2 percent.
Costa was first elected to the largely agricultural district in 2004 after serving in the state Senate and Assembly. He ran unopposed in 2006 and received nearly 75 percent of the vote in 2008.
Costa claimed victory earlier this month, thanking voters for the "honor and privilege of continuing to serve you."
He returns to a much different institution, however. While it appears no California seats changed hands, Republicans are preparing to take control of the House in the new Congress next year, and many have vowed to block President Barack Obama's initiatives.
Despite their minority status in Costa's Central Valley district, Republicans had hoped the region's continued economic woes might offer the party an opportunity this year. Independent expenditure groups poured in money to back Vidak in the final weeks of the campaign.
A telephone message left for Vidak's campaign Tuesday wasn't immediately returned.
The only California congressional race that remained uncalled was in the 11th District, where Democratic incumbent Jerry McNerney held a slim lead over Republican challenger David Harmer. Just 1,788 votes separate the two, out of 233,041 ballots counted so far, according to the latest report by the secretary of state's office.
The district stretches from the eastern San Francisco Bay area to the Central Valley.
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