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Salud Carbajal Wins 24th District Congressional Race

Democrat defeats Republican Justin Fareed in hotly contested race for district representing portions of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties

Democrat Salud Carbajal kept his early lead to win the 24th District Congressional seat Tuesday night. Click to view larger
Democrat Salud Carbajal kept his early lead to win the 24th District Congressional seat Tuesday night.  (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

After one of the most expensive congressional campaigns in the country, Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal won the battle for California’s 24th Congressional District seat. 

With all precincts reporting in semi-official results, Carbajal, a Democrat, won the seat with 53.8 percent of the vote, compared to 46.2 percent for Santa Barbara businessman Justin Fareed, a Republican.

"I’m just grateful for all the volunteers who have stepped up, invested their time and energy in me and my campaign," Carbajal told Noozhawk.

Carbajal will take over the congressional seat from retiring Democratic representative Lois Capps, who has served in the House of Representatives since 1998.

The district covers San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, and northern Ventura County.

"I look forward to representing Central Coast working middle class families on all the issues that I heard throughout the campaign that are important to them," Carbajal said.

Fareed called his participation in the race an "awesome experience."

"From the very beginning, it was pushing a very big boulder up a very steep hill," he told Noozhawk.

"It was an awesome challenge that tested my mettle, it tested the resilience, the perseverance, and it furthered strengthened and reinforce the 'why' — what drove me to do this, to make a difference, to make an impact for us not just here on the Central Coast, but nationally," he said.

The race was essentially won by Carbajal in Santa Barbara County, where he received 57.2 percent of the vote to 42.8 percent for Fareed.

In San Luis Obispo County, Fareed edged Carbajal, 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent.

But the majority of the ballots were from Santa Barbara County — 55.3 percent — compared to San Luis Obispo County's 43.3 percent. (Ventura County had 1.4 percent.)

Tuesday’s voting comes at the end of a long, expensive and often-acrimonious campaign that quickly heated up after Carbajal’s first-place and Fareed’s second-place finishes in June’s primary election.

Carbajal, 51, had routinely touted his years of local public-service experience — which most recently included 12 years on the board — as well as efforts to reach bipartisan solutions.

Fareed, 28, had regularly criticized Carbajal as a career politician who advocates “stale” ideas, and advertised himself as a much-needed outsider who would work to combat Washington gridlock.

24th Congressional District Results
100% Reporting Votes %
Salud Carbajal 114,270 53.8 %
Justin Fareed

98,214

46.2 %

Carbajal argued his opponent was too unqualified and inexperienced for the job, and linked him to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Carbajal, who came to the United States from Mexico at age 5, attended UC Santa Barbara and served in the Marine Corps Reserve before beginning a career in county government.

Throughout the race, he has called income inequality, fighting climate change and offshore oil drilling, reducing student debt and implementing reasonable gun control as some of his priorities.

Fareed works for his family’s sports medical device business and worked in the office of Ed Whitfield, a former Kentucky congressman.

The former UCLA football player’s platform focused on mitigating gridlock in the House and more closely supervising Washington spending.

The campaign has been one of the most expensive House races in the country.

As of Oct. 19, Carbajal had raised $2,845,595 and spent $2,433,576, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan nonprofit that tracks the effects of money and lobbying in elections and aggregates Federal Election Commission data.

By that time, Fareed had raised $2,109,529 and spent $1,792,717.

Assuming the results hold, Carbajal would take office on Jan. 3.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Republican Justin Fareed, left, shakes hands with supporters on Election Night in Santa Barbara. Click to view larger
Republican Justin Fareed, left, shakes hands with supporters on Election Night in Santa Barbara. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

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