Closely behind Carbajal were Republicans Justin Fareed and state Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, who were within 2,000 votes of each other. Fareed led with 27,329 votes, or 20.3 percent, while Achadjian had 25,345 votes, or 18.8 percent. Fareed had more Santa Barbara County votes, while Achadjian led in San Luis Obispo County.

Carbajal takes early lead; Fareed, Achadjian follow

By Kenny Lindberg / Posted on June 7 / Santa Maria Times

Democrat Salud Carbajal is the early frontrunner in the race for the open 24th District Congressional seat, which will have two candidates square off in November.

With 32.9 percent of the total vote, or 44,252 ballots cast as of 11:45 p.m., Carbajal leads both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties in ballots cast in the Tri-County Area, according to unofficial election results.

“We’re still waiting for all the votes to come in,” Carbajal said. “Of course, I’m very thankful to all the voters of the Central Coast and if this lead holds, I hope to continue to meet with residents to learn what keeps them up at night.”

Carbajal added that it didn’t matter who his opponent was, stressing that he will run the same type of campaign no matter the challenger, provided the lead holds.

Closely behind Carbajal were Republicans Justin Fareed and state Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, who were within 2,000 votes of each other.

Fareed led with 27,329 votes, or 20.3 percent, while Achadjian had 25,345 votes, or 18.8 percent. Fareed had more Santa Barbara County votes, while Achadjian led in San Luis Obispo County.

Still, Achadjian’s campaign was hopeful, because of a late power outage in San Luis Obispo County, and because a lot of Santa Maria and Lompoc votes had yet to be counted.

“We have a party going on,” Achadjian said. “Everyone is happy and we’re celebrating.”

His campaign manager, Nyri Achadjian, also was optimistic.

“I think it’s going well. It’s a competitive race,” she said. “I can tell you that we have a ton of strong support in Santa Maria, so I’m very much looking for those numbers coming in, and I think it will make a difference.”

Many votes from North County, including Santa Maria and Lompoc, were counted after Santa Barbara Area votes, because the North County ballots are driven down to the city of Santa Barbara to be counted at the election headquarters.

The power outage in San Luis Obispo County occurred at 10:25 p.m. and was expected to last until 2:15 a.m., according to Pacific Gas and Electric. It impacted roughly 2,473 residents.

Of the nine candidates in the race, only the top two will square off, meaning that Carbajal will likely face a Republican in the general election in November.

Democrat Helene Schneider was fourth with 19,762 ballots cast in her favor, or 14.9 percent, well behind both Republican challengers.

Democrat William Ostrander was fifth with 7,377 votes, or roughly 5.5 percent.

Republican Matt Kokkonen, who was his party’s contender in 2008 against Congresswoman Lois Capps, followed with 6,929 votes, or 5.1 percent.

Throughout the Tri-Counties Area, 134,565 votes were counted, which included more than 94,000 mail-in ballots.

Steve Isakson had 1,331 votes or 1 percent, John Uebersax claimed 1,206 votes or 0.9 percent, and Benjamin Lucas had 907 votes or 0.7 percent.

Capps, the incumbent, will retire at the end of her term.

The 24th Congressional District includes all of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, along with a sliver of Ventura County.