Counties certify election results in unprecedented District 16 Congressional race

San Mateo and Santa Clara counties certified their election results on Thursday making the tie for second place in the closely-watched District 16 congressional race official. 

Now, it appears that Assemblymember Evan Low and Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian will both advance to the general election. They'll join front-runner, former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

With all the votes in, Low and Simitian each have exactly 30,249.

"Well, I was shocked. I mean this almost never happens, and certainly hadn't happened in a congressional race in California," said Melinda Jackson, professor of political science at San Jose State University.

She adds, "If we do have the three-way runoff in November, the winning candidate very well might not have a majority, so it could be a plurality."

The big question now is whether either camp asks for a recount in the hopes of breaking the tie. If they do, they have to pay for it up front, and it could run as much as $500,000.

"They are expensive, and they have to ask for a recount basically within five days after the certification," says Jim Irizarry, Assistant Chief Elections Officer with San Mateo County.

Today, both camps were still at the Registrar of Voters pouring over ballot images. However, political analysts think at this point a recount is unlikely.

"Unless they had a really strong reason to think that a recount would be decided in their favor, I think they're probably thinking they want to hang onto their money and just focus on November," said Jackson.

Low just released a statement saying in part, "I am honored to have won the support of our community to advance to the general election." He adds, "This historically close race shows that every vote really counts."

Liccardo's camp said, "We welcome the opportunity to continue to talk to voters about the issues facing our communities."

And Simitian released a statement saying, "Sometimes it takes a while for democracy to work. This has been one of those times. Call it a cliffhanger, a rollercoaster, a wild ride — but it has absolutely been worth the wait!"

The Secretary of State will now certify the election results on April 12.


Low, Simitian tie for second spot in congressional District 16 race

The battle for the second spot in the race for California's 16th Congressional District intensified as three candidates, rather than two, could likely appear on the November ballot for the general election.