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Incumbent Democrat Salud Carbajal has won unofficial re-election to the 24th Congressional seat, with Republican challenger Justin Fareed conceding the race Wednesday, and thanking his supporters for their "incredible efforts."

"On this morning after Election Day, I want to take a moment to thank you for the dedication and support you have given to me ... throughout the campaign," Fareed said in a statement.

"All of the votes have been counted, and, despite the incredible efforts put forth by all of us, we came up short. I am disappointed in the outcome, but I know that we did everything we could have done to emerge victorious. 

"I am grateful. I am humble," he continued. "I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you, from the bottom of my heart. You are the reason I decided to run for Congress again."

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Carbajal received 96,187 votes districtwide, or 56 percent, while Fareed had received 75,695 votes, for 44 percent.

Official results must be reported by Thursday, Dec. 6.

The 24th Congressional District represents citizens in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and parts of Ventura counties. Carbajal and Fareed were the top vote-getters in the June primary, which sent them on to the general election.

They faced off in 2016 as well, with Carbajal winning the 24th Congressional seat.

Speaking from Viva restaurant in Santa Barbara on election night Tuesday, Carbajal said he was thankful for voters who supported him throughout his campaign.

He said the results "re-affirmed the voters' confidence in me to continue representing them in Washington."

Carbajal said he is committed to continue working in a bipartisan way when at all possible, adding that with the Democrats gaining control of the House of Representatives both parties have a chance to work collaboratively.

"Now the Republicans have to work with the Democrats, so it will make us find common ground if we want to get things done, and I sure hope we can do that so we can do things for the residents of the Central Coast," said Carbajal.

Speaking from the Far Western Tavern in Old Orcutt Tuesday night, Fareed voiced his gratitude for his team of supporters and friends who stood by him during his bid for the 24th District seat. 

"It feels outstanding to see the faces in this room, to see so many people who care about the direction and future of our community and this country," Fareed said of his supporters who gathered Tuesday evening.

"People really care about the future prosperity, safety and security of our families here in the Central Coast so it's an honor to be able to carry their voice through the course of this campaign and God willing, into Washington D.C."

During his campaign, Fareed, 30, who is president of his family's business, Pro Band Sports Industries, Inc., ran on a platform that promised to "put people over politics" in areas of economic growth, public safety and merit-based immigration reform.

He voiced disapproval of the current political climate in which elected officials have allowed politics to override the ability to govern and bring forward efficient policies for America's future.

Fareed promised the Central Coast that if elected he would work to secure disaster relief, vowed to be tough on crime and bridge party lines while hunting for practical solutions to address problems ranging from over-reaching regulations affecting small business owners to keeping the streets safe from crime.

Carbajal, 53, is the son of a farmworker, and was born in Mexico before immigrating to Arizona with his family who later settled in California. He ran on a platform that opposed offshore oil drilling, favored environmental protection and touted comprehensive immigration reform. 

Carbajal has completed his first-term in Congress and said he wants to return to Washington, D.C., to continue representing the Central Coast in all areas, from water security, to civil rights, public education and healthcare. 

He currently sits on the House Committee on the Budget and on the Armed Services Committee as a member of the Subcommittee on Readiness and Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces. 

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Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210


Courts/Public Safety Reporter