Pete Aguilar

Aguilar

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 06/06/14, 7:50 PM PDT | Updated: 1 min ago

Another batch of votes added to the total Friday made it less likely though still statistically possible that Republican Lesli Gooch will knock Democrat Pete Aguilar out of the 31st Congressional District race, but already the campaigns are moving to the next stage.

If that were to happen, it would be the second time in two straight general elections that two Republicans faced off for the House seat. The district runs from Upland in the west to Redlands in the east.

Friday’s count of 300 votes cut Aguilar’s lead by two, to 181 votes. There are still 3,900 uncounted ballots in the county, according to the registrar of voters, with about one-third of the county vote going to the 31st Congressional District in previous counts.

Gooch’s campaign isn’t conceding, but campaign manager Jeff Stinson on Friday blasted the National Republican Campaign Committee for giving away the chance for what he called a sure Republican victory.

“The state party and the NRCC should be ashamed, because if they had spent one dollar on this race they would have won it,” Stinson said. “They had a great candidate, and now they’ve made it an extremely difficult race.”

The first-place finisher in the primary — with 26 percent of the vote, nearly 10 percentage points above both Aguilar and Gooch — is Republican Paul Chabot.

Chabot is generally seen as being to the right of Gooch, who was a top staffer for Rep. Gary Miller-Rancho Cucamonga, the retiring congressman for the district, where more than 57 percent of ballots in 2008 and 2012 went to Barack Obama.

And so the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which endorsed Aguilar, attacked Chabot’s “rigidly conservative views” even before Friday’s vote count.

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