The Morning Report
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So we just got the absentee ballot dump from the local races. Although everyone at Election Central is straining to see the first batch of numbers, they really shouldn’t worry. We’ll probably have three hours or more to parse these numbers while the registrar counts the ballots cast today.

That’s right, it’s going to be a late one.

County officials say it may take up to four more hours to get any updated numbers on local races.

But a couple of points worth noting: The Democrats are down in Chula Vista. Now, these are the absentee ballots, which in the past have had a Republican tilt. We’ve seen numerous races like this tighten after the initial absentee dump. But at the start of the counting, Chula Vista City Councilman Steve Castaneda is down against his Republican challenger, Scott Vinson 52.6 percent to 47.1 percent. And Democrat Pamela Bensoussan is trailing Republican Russ Hall in Chula Vista’s other City Council race.

Labor groups and business alliances flooded the South Bay city with money and activists trying to sway the city’s politics at a crucial time.

We’ll pay attention to that. But remember, this is an election about Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox as well. She and Castaneda are at war. There’s really no other way to put it. If Castaneda loses, no one will be happier than her.

Update at 2:15 a.m.: Castaneda is now leading in the count. With 50 percent of the vote counted, he has a 51 percent to 49 percent lead.

SCOTT LEWIS

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