Rare 2nd place tie moves both Joe Simitian, Evan Low forward in CA District 16 Congressional race  

Friday, April 5, 2024
Candidates in CA District 16 race react to rare 2nd place tie
A rare second-place tie moves both Supervisor Joe Simitian and Assemblymember Evan Low forward in the California District 16 Congressional race.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- One of the tightest races in Bay Area politics is coming to a close with two candidates locked in a tie.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian and State Assemblymember Evan Low were competing for the second spot, for the right to face off against former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

All three are vying to replace retiring Congresswoman Anna Eshoo. San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties certified their results Thursday.

"To have an open seat in a district that's had an incumbent for decades, in a very deeply democratic part of the state or any part of the country means you tend to have a lot of qualified challengers," said Rick Klein, ABC News political director.

RELATED: Who will take 2nd place in District 16 congressional race and be Sam Liccardo's opponent?

Many went after the seat but after Election Day, there were three clear front runners.

Liccardo got the majority of the vote and secured his first place spot early.

Who would take second place to run against him was unclear for weeks as ballots in both Santa Clara and San Mateo counties were processed.

Simitian and State Assemblymember Evan Low went back and forth in the second place spot, for weeks separated by a handful of votes.

"Boy, what a rollercoaster," Low said. "I'm so excited to go into the general election to reaffirm the importance of earning the trust of the voters of this district and reaffirming what this all about, every vote counts."

"Call it what you will it's been a wild ride, a rollercoaster, a cliffhanger, but a win, is a win is a win, we're in and that's the exciting news tonight, and obviously a moment for celebration and then it's on to November," Samitian said.

Tuesday was the last day that voters with challenged ballots could cure them, allowing them to be processed and counted. Towards the end of the day Tuesday, Low was leading by just one vote but at the last minute, a person in San Mateo County cured their ballot leading to the tied vote.

RELATED: Race for 2nd place for CA's District 16 congressional seat tightens

"This election, we had a slogan: 'One vote. Make it count," said Michael Borja, a spokesperson with the Santa Clara County Registrars Office. "I think (this race) exemplifies that meaning, and one vote really does make a difference and your vote does matter."

Both candidates have 30,249 votes.

The law states that both Low and Simitian can join Liccardo in the general election.

There is an opportunity for candidates or voters to call for a recount.

Whoever makes the request pays for the recount and will only be reimbursed if the recount finds the vote in their favor.

RELATED: US House race too close to call for CA's District 16; 2 candidates fighting for 2nd place

"It doesn't make either financial sense or political sense. Because, the thing about a recount is usually the person that requested is the person that's losing," Klein said. "You're trying to get more votes. You don't want to turn it in the other direction when you actually have a tie."

ABC7 reached out to all three candidates.

Liccardo's team did not get back to us.

Low issued this statement Thursday:

"I am honored to have won the support of our community to advance to the general election to replace the esteemed Anna Eshoo for Congress. Thank you to all of my incredible supporters who gave their time, money, and votes to support our campaign. This historically close race shows that every vote really counts. I could not have made it this far without every one of you, and I hope to earn your support once again in November. I would also like to thank those who also ran in this election for a thoughtful campaign and for their commitment to serve our community. I look forward to continuing to share my vision for the future with every voter in the coming months."

Simitian issued a statement Thursday:

"I want to begin by saying thank you for this victory. Thanks to those who cast their vote in support of my candidacy. Thanks to my supporters who made this win possible. And thanks to the folks who spent the last month actually counting the votes -- the election officials who made sure that our American democracy works. This is what a functioning democracy looks like. Every vote is counted and every vote counts.

"We have important work to do as a nation. I am ready to do that work. First, of course, that means winning in November. That's the next challenge.

"I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to hearing from the voters in my district, and I'm looking forward to sharing my vision for our nation's future.

"Sometimes it takes a while for democracy to work. This has been one of those times. Call it a cliffhanger, a rollercoaster, a wild ride - but it has absolutely been worth the wait!"

Now that counties have finalized results, the California Secretary of State certifies the election on April 12.

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