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Panetta and Carbajal secure Democratic leads for congressional races 

U.S. Representatives Jimmy Panetta and Salud Carbajal emerged as the lead Democratic candidates for the 19th and 24th District congressional elections, respectively.

Hours after polls closed at 8 p.m. on June 7, incumbent 24th District Congressman Carbajal had won 62.7 percent of the votes from his district, which spans all of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, and part of Ventura County. As of June 8, polls reflected votes from 21.87 percent, 20.95 percent, and 22.04 percent of SLO, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties, respectively. Carbajal will face Republican Brad Allen in the November general election.

click to enlarge NEXT IN THE PIPELINE Hot on the heels of gaining the Democratic nomination for the 24th District congressional race, Rep. Salud Carbajal leads a gun safety bill, which the House will deliberate on June 9. - FILE PHOTO BY CHRIS MCGUINNESS
  • File Photo By Chris McGuinness
  • NEXT IN THE PIPELINE Hot on the heels of gaining the Democratic nomination for the 24th District congressional race, Rep. Salud Carbajal leads a gun safety bill, which the House will deliberate on June 9.

The unofficial results showed that Panetta—the incumbent from the old 20th District that got redrawn to the new 19th during recent redistricting—pulled in an average of 64.91 percent of votes across SLO, Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara counties. The average voter turnout for this district so far is 18.69 percent. Panetta will try to retain his seat against Republican Jeff Gorman in November.

Results for the primary elections will be certified by July 15. But Carbajal and Panetta are already racing to tackle the next order of business: uniting to reinforce safer gun laws at the federal level.

"This week, the House [of Representatives] is going to vote on two separate gun bills. One of them is my bill that has been enjoined with a similar bill. Together, it's called the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act [ERPO]," Carbajal told New Times on June 7, before the polls closed.

Carbajal's specific bill, HR 34AD, is a grant program that would make funds available to states to develop red flag laws that allow family members or law enforcement to petition a court to prevent a person from acquiring firearms if it's proven that they pose a threat to them or others. Currently, 19 American states, including California, have their own red flag laws. But Carbajal hopes his bill will incentivize more states to join. The bill needs 218 votes on June 9 to pass through the House and move to the Senate.

"Gun violence laws have regrettably become too polarized politically, and it's unfortunate. Now, after this mass shooting [in Uvalde, Texas], I think it finally seems like my bill can make it over the finish line, get bipartisan support, and get to the president's desk, and be signed into law," Carbajal said from his Washington, D.C., office.

Panetta also joined Carbajal in Washington, D.C., to extend his support for gun laws. But the Central Coast is still on his mind too. He said that in spite of his preliminary lead at the polls, more work needs to be done to engage with the 55 percent of new voters who are now in the 19th District.

"The new 19th District is similar the 20th District. I'm focused on the beauty by protecting our environment. I'm focused on our bounty and the agriculture from north San Luis Obispo County to the coast of Santa Cruz," Panetta said. "But the one issue that unites us all together is affordable housing and the lack of it in the area. I want to make affordable housing available not just now but also for future generations to be able to come back and live here." Δ

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