Ed Bedford 12:18 p.m., May 22
Throwing in the towel
Congressman Brian Bilbray concedes house race to Scott Peters
More than a week after election day, now former-congressman Brian Bilbray announced that he was throwing in the towel, conceding to his Democratic opponent Scott Peters.
The margin of victory was thin, a few-thousand votes thin, and was one of the more closely watched races in the nation with several outside PACs pouring in hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The election ends a long political career for Bilbray who in addition to serving in congress also put years in as a city councilmember and later as mayor of Imperial Beach.
“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.
"I would like to take this moment to thank all the supporters of my campaign. This was an expensive and hard-fought campaign that drew national interest. I appreciated the spirited dialogue that often accompanies campaigns like this. 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," stated Bilbray in a November 16 press release.
In his statement, the conservative congressman listed some of his accomplishments during his years in Congress.
"I was fortunate to have environmental bills passed and signed into law: The Border Smog Protection Act that strengthened the Clean Air Act and the Beaches Environment Assessment and Coastal Health Act that strengthened the Clean Water Act, as well as a bill to clean up Lake Hodges.
"I also take great pride in protecting veteran benefits with the passage of a two-year budget cycle and honor their service by protecting the Mount Soledad National Veterans Memorial."
Bilbray is one of several local politicians leaving public service. Unlike former state assemblyman Nathan Fletcher and state senator Christine Kehoe, Bilbray has not given any indication as to his plans for his future once he returns to San Diego County.
"As for me, I will continue fighting for the issues I believe in and that benefit San Diego, only in a different capacity. I look forward to finally having the opportunity to spend time with my family and seven grandkids. I wish Scott and his family the very best in his endeavors.”
*Update: Shortly after Bilbray's announcement newly minted congressman Scott Peters gave the following statement:
“This afternoon, I received a very gracious phone call from Congressman Brian Bilbray. He wished me luck and offered his support. We agreed that while it was a tough, hard-fought campaign, now is the time to put it behind us. I thanked him for his service and look forward to his support as I transition into office.
“I’m in our nation’s capitol this week, working hard, and getting ready to hit the ground running on behalf of the people of the 52nd District. I am very grateful to the hundreds of people who walked, called, contributed and gave me their support; it was their energy and enthusiasm that put us over the top in this close race.
“There’s much to do. I’m encouraged by the tremendous group of colleagues I’ve met here so far: freshman members of Congress, because like me, they all heard loud and clear during their campaigns that voters are tired of the partisanship, tired of politicians who put party over people. I look forward to working with everyone to get things done for San Diego and the American people.”*