SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Solana Beach, conceded defeat Friday to Democratic San Diego Port Commissioner Scott Peters in the close race for the 52nd Congressional District.
Peters led by about 3,875 votes as of Thursday afternoon out of about 269,000 tallied in the Nov. 6 election. About 120,000 mail-in or provisional ballots still need to be counted, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.
"With the majority of votes counted, I would like to congratulate Scott Peters in his bid to serve the citizens of the 52nd Congressional District and the people of San Diego," Bilbray said, adding that he called Peters to congratulate him.
Bilbray noted the campaign was expensive, hard-fought and drew national interest. He thanked his supporters and said he appreciated the spirited dialogue that accompanied the campaign.
"While Scott and I differed sharply on how to handle the issues facing our nation, now is the time to put those differences aside and find common ground to address our country's many challenges," Bilbray said.
Bilbray said he took pride in what his team had been able to accomplish in his time in Congress, such as having environmental bills passed and signed into law, protecting veteran benefits with the passage of a two-year budget cycle and protecting the Mount Soledad National Veterans Memorial.
"I endeavored to open my colleagues' eyes to the promise of renewable fuels that will one day curb our dependence on foreign oil. And finally, something very close to me, reforming the bureaucracy to get cures to patients faster and increasing medical research funding to one day turn cancer into a manageable disease," Bilbray said.
Bilbray said he would continue fighting for issues he believed in and that benefit San Diego, but in a different capacity.
"I look forward to finally having the opportunity to spend time with my family and seven grand kids," Bilbray said. "I wish Scott and his family the very best in his endeavors."