Peters holds narrow lead against Bilbray

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SAN DIEGO —   Democratic Port Commissioner Scott Peters appeared Wednesday morning to have unseated Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Solana Beach, in the 52nd District, but with less than 700 votes separating the two, provisional ballots might ultimately change the outcome.

Democrats believed they had a strong chance to unseat Bilbray, after redistricting moved his district into unfamiliar inland territory.

Peters attempted to paint Bilbray as a tool of far-right elements of the Republican Party who wants to privatize Social Security, make Draconian cuts to education and scientific research and reduce the social safety net for the elderly, ill and disabled.

Bilbray has denied Peters’ claims on entitlements and contends Peters is largely to blame for the city of San Diego’s one-time fiscal mess, which occurred while he was a councilman, and has taken to calling his opponent the “Bernie Madoff of San Diego.”

The reference to the financier who committed the largest financial fraud scheme in U.S. history relates to the underfunding of the city of San Diego’s employee pension system, which sent municipal finances into a tailspin.

Three other incumbents — Hunter, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, and Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego — were all re-elected.