Meet the 2 challenges to face-off for Rep. Speier's congressional district

Two Democrats are poised to battle for the Congressional District 15 seat that is currently being held by Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who has held the seat since 2008.

State Assembly Member and Speaker Pro Tem Kevin Mullin was leading the field of seven candidates in Tuesday night's open primary, with 41% of the vote. 

Mullin held his watch party at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Hall in Burlingame. He hopes people will recognize he has a proven track record.  

"We're certainly thrilled by the margin," said Mullin, "I think it's indicative of the fact that I've represented these folks in San Mateo County  for the last decade in the California State Assembly so I'm a known commodity. But it also points to the Jackie Speier endorsement. Having the endorsement of such a popular, iconic figure as my lead endorser, as her potential successor was crucial."

Mullin was followed by San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa, who had 25% of the vote.

Canepa says one reason he is running is to help make housing more affordable is a big issue for his campaign.

"My mission in this county is to make sure that the next generation of San Mateo County resident, that my son can stay here. This county has become a county of the haves and have nots. My candidacy represents bringing back the middle class in San Mateo County where an average home costs $2.5 million. We need to make sure that we create an equitable field for everyone," said Canepa.

If he wins the seat, Canepa says he'll look for common ground in Congress but not give up on values he feels are importamt to Peninsula residents.

"As a Democrat right now we are under assault. Whether it's LGBTQ-plus, whether it's the environment, whether it's abortion, it's these issues and that's why we need a strong voice in Washington," said Canepa. 

This election is quite different from the last because of redistricting. 

The candidates are running in the new Congressional District 15 which will no longer include communities such as Pacifica or Half Moon Bay. Each congressional district has about 750,000 constituents.

Congresswoman Speier, who spoke with KTVU from Washington D.C., said she believes that looking ahead, whoever succeeds her will face a Congress that can unite over some issues, despite the increase in partisanship.

"I actually think there is room to do that issue by issue and I can give you an example. The issue of sexual assault in the military is an issue I worked on for over 10 years, I was able to successfully get these cases taken out of the chain of command in conjunction with my Republican colleagues," said Speier.

"So oftentimes your work is dictated by the committees you serve on and I serve on the Armed Services Committee and chair the Military Personnel Subcommittee. So issues that I've been dealing with the suicide in the military, I can find common ground with my Republican colleagues to fashion a result which we are doing right now. I'm working with Senators Sullivan and Murkowski on the issue of suicide in Alaska where we've seen a doubling of the number. So taking a number of steps this year in the Defense Authorization Act to provide more benefits to our soldiers and airmen that serve in Alaska," said Speier.

Speier is vowing to help whoever wins the seat.

"I want to be there for him or whomever is selected by voters to make sure so he has a quick start and a head start. So I will be there for my person whoever succeeds me in whatever way I can," said Speier.