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Election Day is long gone and candidates across the country have bowed out of closer races, but two local politicians are holding on to principle and refusing to admit defeat.
Francine Busby, who has 43 percent of the votes counted so far, is still trailing Rep. Brian Bilbray by 10 percent in California’s 50th District. But she isn’t the only congressional candidate who’s way behind and unwilling to concede Tuesday’s election.
Jeenie Criscenzo, the Democrat who ran against Rep. Darrell Issa in the 49th District, which covers portions of northern San Diego and southwest Riverside counties, is also refraining from throwing in the towel until all of the votes are counted.
Issa currently has 63 percent of the vote while Criscenzo has almost 34 percent, according to the California Secretary of State’s website.
The Registrar of Voters is continuing to count absentee, paper and provisional ballots, a process that is expected to take several days to complete. Updated figures in both races are expected to be released later today.
But across the country, candidates have walked away from much closer races with much higher stakes. In Virginia last week, Republican Sen. George Allen conceded his seat and GOP control of the Senate after coming within one percentage point of Democratic challenger Jim Webb.
Busby said she isn’t quitting until every vote is counted. Although she no longer contends she can win, Busby said she owes as much to her supporters.
Criscenzo isn’t holding out hope of a come from behind victory either, but said her stand is based on a distrust of electronic voting machines, as well as what she feels is disrespect for the electoral process by the media and government officials.
As evidence of the former, Criscenzo points to the fact that Bilbray was sworn in as a member of the House after the June special election before the registrar officially certified the results. That event sparked a lawsuit, which a judge later dismissed.
“It completely negated the rights of the voters to select their representative,” Criscenzo said. “It was outrageous.”
After Bilbray was sworn in, Criscenzo promised a group of supporters at an election integrity forum that she would wait until all of the votes are counted before making any announcements, she said.
“Why bother having an election if you are going to declare a winner before you count all the ballots,” Criscenzo said, adding that she plans to concede “as a matter of respect” once all the votes are counted.