Even though there are still ballots to be counted in the extremely tight race for California’s 13th Congressional District seat, Democrat Adam Gray released a statement Friday night conceding to Republican John Duarte.
Duarte has held onto his lead over Gray in the latest election count, which has yet to be finalized. That lead has been fluctuating but holding fast.
As of Friday, Duarte led with 66,884 votes (50.2 percent) over Adam Gray’s 66,300 vote count, or 49.8 percent. Additional ballots are still being counted.
“After weeks of incredibly hard work by our election workers, the result has become clear. While I had hoped for a different outcome, I accept the results and have called to congratulate my opponent, John Duarte.
“This was one of the closest races in the country. More than 130,000 ballots were cast, and the outcome will be decided by just a few hundred votes. This isn’t a Democrat or Republican district. To effectively represent us, our elected officials must embrace bipartisanship and independence. It takes courage to buck your own party leaders when they are wrong. That is what I have done during my time in the State Legislature, and I hope John is ready and willing to do the same for us in Congress.
“To my family, friends, and supporters from all across the political spectrum – thank you. We accomplished incredible things together and truly punched above our weight.
“There is still so much work to be done. For now, I hope the next few weeks will allow us to reflect on what unites us as a community. We have new leaders at the local, state, and federal levels. I will do everything in my power to help each of them be effective leaders.
“There is no better place to grow up than in the Valley. It has been the greatest honor of my life to represent our community in the State Legislature. Whether elected or not, I will never stop fighting for the Valley,” said Gray.
Gray took an early lead on Election Night, 52.2 percent to Duarte’s 47.8 percent. But by Nov. 10, Duarte had overtaken Gray with a lead of 50.1 percent to 49.9 percent.
Duarte said in a statement, "I promised our Valley families that I would be their bipartisan champion in Washington, D.C. by fighting for food on our tables, gas in our tanks, and water on our farms. That is exactly what I am going to go there to do.”
Earlier, Republicans regained control of the House. With Duarte's victory, Republicans will hold 221 seats next year, Democrats 213, with one Colorado race undecided and going to a recount.
Stanislaus, Merced and Madera counties have all certified their elections.
As of Friday, Gray was ahead of Duarte in San Joaquin County by 505 votes with more than 50 percent of the votes left to count. Fresno County Elections Office reported that with no more ballots left to process on Friday night, Duarte led Gray by 1,327 votes.
County elections officials must report their final results to the Secretary of State by Dec. 9. The Secretary of State will compile the results and will then certify the results of the election by Dec. 16.
With Duarte’s win, it flips the Turlock area from Democrat House representation under Josh Harder back to Republican, as GOP candidate Tom McClintock already secured the win in the 5th Congressional District which includes the westside of town.
Earlier in the year, Duarte predicted a return of Republican votes in the area.
“This is a working-class district,” he said. “The cost of living we’re seeing is the complete result of bad policy and we could deliver good policy. We see people all across the country moving to the Republican Party, because the Republican Party is the party of common folks.”
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.