FAIRFIELD – Rep. John Garamendi held a narrow lead over challenger Kim Vann for the 3rd District Congressional seat late Tuesday.
Garamendi led Vann 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent with 41 percent of precincts partially or fully reporting, according to the Secretary of State’s office. In Solano County, he held a 56 percent to 44 percent advantage with 21 percent of precincts reporting.
“There’s still a lot of votes that are left to be counted,” Vann’s campaign manager Alee Lockman said at 10:50 p.m. “We’re feeling very encouraged where things stand right now. We look forward to seeing what the votes look like when they’re all in.”
Garamendi couldn’t be reached for comment by phone late Tuesday.
The race pitted Democratic incumbent Garamendi, with his almost four decades of political experience, against Republican challenger Vann, a Colusa County supervisor since 2007. Garamendi stressed his experience and ability to get things done, while Vann stressed the need for less business regulation and her experience in the private sector.
Garamendi met with campaign workers at noon Tuesday at his Fairfield office in a North Texas Street storefront. He came dressed in his typical jeans and button-down shirt that speak to his ranching roots.
“This election is really important,” Garamendi told workers. “You look at what we can do, what we need to do and you look at what happened the last two years with the Republican blockade in Congress.”
He praised his campaign workers. He himself got a call Saturday from a campaign worker asking if he was voting for John Garamendi, Garamendi said. The campaign worker was surprised to find out his identity.
“The ground operation in this campaign is the best I’ve seen in 27 elections,” Garamendi said.
Garamendi served 16 years in the state Legislature and has served as state lieutenant governor and state insurance commissioner.
Vann participated in her first congressional race. She talked about having someone in office with a background in the private sector and local government instead of someone with a long political career.
“I don’t think you could have a race between two more opposite candidates,” said Vann, who is from a Colusa County farm family.
She visited her Vacaville campaign office Tuesday afternoon and considered what she had discovered by talking with voters in recent months.
“How happy people are to have an alternative and a viable to the incumbent,” Vann said.
She did the best she could to reach voters with the resources she had, Vann said. A key to the race is voter turnout, she said.
Garamendi for three years has been Fairfield-Suisun’s representative for the 10th Congressional district. But redistricting after Census 2010 changed district lines for this race, putting him in the 3rd District.
The new 3rd District also includes Vacaville. It covers central and northern Solano County and parts or all of Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Sacramento, Sutter, Yuba and Yolo counties.
As of Oct. 17, Garamendi had raised $1.7 million for the race and Vann had raised $1.1 million, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.