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Issa narrowly beats Applegate to win 9th term in Congress

SAN DIEGO -- The small lead held by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, after election night held up in subsequent counting, returning him to Congress for a ninth term.

Issa fended off a fierce challenge from attorney Doug Applegate, a retired Marine colonel.

The incumbent held off Applegate with 50.4 percent of the vote -- a margin of 2,348 out of roughly 306,000 ballots cast. Applegate's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu told City News Service there were fewer than 1,000 ballots left to count in the local portion of the 49th Congressional District.

Issa represents an area that covers northern San Diego County and part of southern Orange County. The registrar in Orange County, Neal Kelley, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that his office finished counting all but a small number of damaged ballots and ballots without a second page.

That leaves too few outstanding ballots to flip the count in Applegate's favor.

"Serving the people of Southern California has been one of the greatest honors of my life and I am humbled at the chance to continue fighting for them in Congress," Issa said in a statement.

"I thank the voters for putting their faith and support behind me and look forward at all we'll be able to accomplish together in the next two years," he said. "I'm proud of all we've been able to get done, but we still have so much more to do."

He said he wanted to take advantage of Republican control of the White House and both chambers of Congress to restore Washington's focus on economic prosperity, national security and government accountability.

Issa will have Orange County voters to thank when he returns to Washington, D.C. He earned over 16,000 more votes than his opponent in the OC. In his home base of San Diego County, he lost by around 14,00 votes.

Applegate released a statement Tuesday, following the announcement of his defeat.

"I want to, first and foremost, thank my family and every single person who gave us their time, support and energy in any way, shape or form. Your enthusiasm fueled a campaign no one thought could win and turned it into a force that almost did. You showed that our community wants leaders who put our country over their own politics. As a Marine Colonel, I know that the hardest fights often take a couple of battles – and I look forward to continuing our fight in the days, weeks, and months ahead. That’s why I’m announcing my intention to run for Congress in 2018. This community deserves leadership that puts people ahead of partisan politics."