California's 52nd Congressional District elections, 2014

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U.S. House, California District 52 General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngScott Peters Incumbent 51.6% 98,826
     Republican Carl DeMaio 48.4% 92,746
Total Votes 191,572
Source: California Secretary of State



California's 52nd Congressional District

General Election Date
November 4, 2014

Primary Date
June 3, 2014

November 4 Election Winner:
Scott Peters Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Scott Peters Democratic Party
Scott Peters.jpg

Race Ratings
Cook Political Report: Toss Up[1]

Sabato's Crystal Ball: Toss Up[2]

California U.S. House Elections
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2014 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of California.png

Incumbent Scott Peters (D) narrowly defeated Carl DeMaio (R) in a scandal-plagued race that took three days to call. Although the Associated Press declared Peters the winner late on November 7, DeMaio did not concede to Peters until November 9.[3]

Ballotpedia identified California's 52nd Congressional District as a 2014 battleground race because the district had nearly even numbers of Republicans and Democrats with a slight Democratic lean due to redistricting.[4] In addition, Peters won election by just 2.4 percent in 2012. Peters and DeMaio advanced past the blanket primary on June 3, 2014. The three Republican candidates in the primary received nearly 58 percent of the vote. The tight primary pointed to the fact that the general election race would be very competitive. The race was also identified as a "toss-up" by the Cook Political Report and Sabato's Crystal Ball.[5][6]

The morning after the polls closed, DeMaio said, “It has certainly not been an easy race for our campaign team, that has had to endure so much that potentially if I were a Democrat, there would be people in the streets rioting over what we’ve had to endure.”[7] The hardships that DeMaio referred to were a break-in at his campaign headquarters and allegations of sexual harassment.

Just days before the primary election, DeMaio's campaign headquarters were broken into and vandalized. Computers were smashed, phone cords were cut and gas cards were stolen, according to DeMaio's communications director Dave McCulloch.[8] Former staffers were questioned about the break-in, but charges were not filed due to insufficient evidence.[9]

DeMaio also faced sexual harassment charges from former campaign staffer Todd Bosnich, an openly gay Republican.[10] Although charges were never filed against DeMaio, the allegations may have hurt his campaign. According to the Associated Press, "Dave McCulloch, a spokesman, said the controversy created 'massive attrition and erosion' among DeMaio's Republican base — including older, evangelical Christian voters — and created 'an ick factor.' The allegations were less of an issue with independent voters, he said."[11]

After conceding, DeMaio said, "It's clear that we are falling short in the vote counts and I wish Mr. Peters the best because I care so much about the interests of San Diego. I'm incredibly proud of the inclusive and diverse campaign coalition that we forged and I remain committed to challenging the Republican Party to become more inclusive and more positive in its efforts to build a governing majority."[11]

While Republicans were able to take control of Congress, they had little success in California. "When the count was completed, state Democrats had not only held every one of their congressional seats in the face of a national Republican wave, but also picked up a GOP seat in Southern California," according to the San Francisco Gate.[12]

In a December 15 interview, Peters said that he hopes to bring the same kind of cooperation and collaboration that "San Diego's congressional delegation of three Democrats and two Republicans" has to Washington. He said, "The working relationship has never been this good. We need to spread that out through the Congress. With the right attitude, I think we can do that."[13]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
March 7, 2014
June 3, 2014
November 4, 2014

Primary: California is one of three states to use a blanket primary, or top-two system, which allows all candidates to run and all voters to vote but only moves the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, to the general election.[14][15][16]

Voter registration: To vote in the primary, voters had to register by May 19, 2014. For the general election, the voter registration deadline was October 20, 2014 (the 15th calendar day before that election).[17]

See also: California elections, 2014

Incumbent: Heading into the election the incumbent was Scott Peters (D), who was first elected in 2012.

California's 52nd Congressional District is located in the southern portion of the state and includes part of San Diego County.[18]


General election candidates

Democratic Party Scott Peters Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Carl DeMaio

June 3, 2014, primary results

Democratic Party Scott Peters - Incumbent Approveda
Republican Party Carl DeMaio Approveda
Republican Party Kirk Jorgensen
Republican Party Fred Simon

Election results

General election

U.S. House, California District 52 General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngScott Peters Incumbent 51.6% 98,826
     Republican Carl DeMaio 48.4% 92,746
Total Votes 191,572
Source: California Secretary of State

Primary election

U.S. House, California District 52 Primary, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngScott Peters Incumbent 42.3% 53,926
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngCarl DeMaio 35.3% 44,954
     Republican Kirk Jorgensen 18.5% 23,588
     Republican Fred Simon 4% 5,040
Total Votes 127,508
Source: California Secretary of State

Race background

Frontline Program

Peters was a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Frontline Program. The program was designed to help protect vulnerable Democratic incumbents during the 2014 election cycle.[19]

Sexual harassment charges

DeMaio faced sexual harassment charges from former campaign staffer Todd Bosnich, an openly gay Republican. Bosnich described the first instance of harassment saying, "We were making small talk on the way back. And when he pulled up to my car, he reached over into my lap and grabbed my crotch. And I flipped out. And I pushed his hand away. I just was shocked because I'd never had anyone do something like that to me, especially in a position of authority and trust. And, at the time, I just figured, well, maybe he was drunk and blew it off. But he progressively and progressively, the inappropriate touching incidents continued from there."[10]

Bosnich said the harassment culminated in the following incident: "I came over to his office, door was open. And he was masturbating. I saw his hand, his penis in his hand and he had a smile on his face. And as soon as I came over he was looking at me." Bosnich said he confronted DeMaio several weeks after the incident and told him to stop sexually harassing him. As a result, Bosnich was terminated from the campaign. "It was the very next day, in the morning, that the campaign manager called me into his office and said that Carl lost his trust in me and that he'd terminated me. He offered me a position in the county Republican Party and also told me to sign a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for $50,000," Bosnich said.[10]

In response to the allegations, DeMaio said that Bosnich was terminated for plagiarism. "This is an individual that was let go by our campaign manager for plagiarism. A well-documented plagiarism incident of taking a report from the National Journal and passing it off as his own work. He was terminated. He admitted that he plagiarized. He apologized for plagiarizing and when we told him he was no longer welcome in the staff and in the campaign office, even as a volunteer, he left. Days later, he broke in. It's unfortunate. He's clearly troubled. He got caught for the damage that he did to the campaign and now he's manufacturing in essence a cover story to explain away his actions. It's unfortunate. It's untrue. And my hope is that the police department will hold him accountable for his actions against our campaign," DeMaio said.[10]

Peters' comments about DeMaio

Peters came under fire for remarks he made about DeMaio. Peters said the following at a Clairemont Democrat Club Meeting on August 12, 2014: "And now he’s saying, now he’s saying, ‘Well, I’m a gay man, I must be moderate. I’m pro-choice, I’m pro-environment.’ And I gotta tell ya, around the country, where people don’t know him, they completely buy it. Carl DeMaio has gotten more—it’s so unusual for them to see a gay man running as a Republican. He’s gotten stories in The Wall Street Journal, he’s gotten stories in the National Journal, all puff pieces about how this great, new, moderate, gay Republican is coming out and running for office. And they’re very psyched about it. And the Republicans in D.C., they love this."[20]


See also: Energy and the 2014 election: the ballots and beyond

Scott Peters

Peters' campaign website listed the following issues:[21]

  • Jobs and the Economy: "America faces challenging new realities in a changing world. The economy is faster, smarter, more competitive and more global. And our federal budget is upside down because our Congressional representatives are more focused on holding onto problems for political gain than solving them."
  • Healthcare: "Healthcare in America needs to be accessible and affordable for everybody. When the Supreme Court affirmed the President's health care insurance reform initiative (the Affordable Care Act) in June 2012, it reminded us that the powerful health services industry does not control the administration of health care."
  • Medicare and Social Security: "Social Security and Medicare are compacts between the generations that we must not break. Men and women who have spent a lifetime of hard work, providing for their families and saving for their retirement, deserve the security of knowing their retirement and benefits, which they have worked hard to earn, will be there for them."
  • Veterans: "Veterans are such a vital part of our community, and San Diego has the largest concentration of veterans in the nation, approximately 28,000. When these Americans volunteered to serve our country, we made a commitment to provide them with certain programs and benefits in exchange for their service."
  • Energy Policy: "As a nation, we must work toward a long-term energy policy that: 1) creates new American jobs; 2) emphasizes greater energy independence; 3) invests in the development of alternative fuels; 4) promotes clean energy technology like wind and solar; 5) ensures greater national security; and 6) provides automakers with incentives for producing fuel-efficient vehicles."


—Scott Peters' campaign website,

Peters' priorities

Peters explained his priorities in the following statement: "I want to put my energy into fixing our economy, creating new jobs through investments in biotechnology, high tech and other innovative new sciences. I want to continue to protect a woman's right to choose her own healthcare."[23]

Carl DeMaio

DeMaio's campaign website listed the following issues:[24]

  • Balancing the Budget: "Washington DC has a spending problem. How long have we heard this line from our politicians? Each election we hear politicians railing against excessive spending, but once in Washington, DC we see little action. Something has to change. We’re now more than $17 trillion in debt – and it is only getting worse."
  • Jobs and the Economy: "Carl DeMaio’s philosophy is simple: if you are willing to work hard, the American Dream should be yours. Unfortunately, the American Dream is out-of-reach for too many. People are working harder, but feel like they are falling further behind. Something has to change – and that something is Washington."
  • Education: "A quality education is the bedrock of life-long success. Carl DeMaio will be a champion of reforms to strengthen our K-12 education system and expand access to college so our children are prepared to compete in a 21st century economy."
  • Affordable Health Care: "Health care reform should be about making coverage more accessible and affordable, not more expensive and complicated. Health care works best when medical decisions are made by patients and their doctors – not government bureaucrats in Washington."
  • Social Security & Medicare: "We have an obligation to our seniors – Democrats and Republicans should come together to fulfill our commitment to our seniors by enacting common-sense reforms to save Social Security and Medicare."


—Carl DeMaio's campaign website,

KPBS questionnaire

Peters and DeMaio submitted responses to a KPBS questionnaire in July 2014. According to KPBS, "Both said they want to make some changes to the Affordable Care Act but would continue to guarantee coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Both believe climate change is real, although DeMaio said research should continue into humans' impact on it. Both support same-sex marriage, and neither wants to restrict a woman's right to an abortion. On gun control, Peters said he supports bills to reinstate the assault weapons ban, close the fire sale loophole and strengthen penalties on gun traffickers. DeMaio said he does not support new gun control laws but wants more resources to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those with mental health disorders."[23]

Key votes

Below are important votes that Peters cast during the 113th Congress.

Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Nay3.png On September 30, 2013, the House passed a final stopgap spending bill before the shutdown went into effect. The bill included a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate and would have also stripped the bill of federal subsidies for congressional members and staff. It passed through the House with a vote of 228-201.[25] At 1 a.m. on October 1, 2013, one hour after the shutdown officially began, the House voted to move forward with going to a conference. In short order, Sen. Harry Reid rejected the call to conference.[26] Scott Peters voted against the stopgap spending bill that would have delayed the individual mandate.[27]

Yea3.png The shutdown ended on October 16, 2013, when the House took a vote on HR 2775 after it was approved by the Senate. The bill to reopen the government lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[28] The House passed the legislation shortly after the Senate, by a vote of 285-144, with all 144 votes against the legislation coming from Republican members. Scott Peters voted for HR 2775.[29]


Scott Peters

  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce - In a rare move, Peters received the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which rarely backs Democratic candidates. Chamber president, Thomas Donohue, wrote in a letter to Peters, "We believe that your re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives will help produce sustained economic growth, help create jobs, and get our country back on track. We will encourage the business community to vigorously support your candidacy.”[30]


Crossroads GPS released an ad attacking Peters on August 19, 2014. Peters and DeMaio condemned the ad. DeMaio said, "Not only did I not know about this ad, I wish these national groups on both sides would go away. Scott Peters should be called out for his terrible votes undermining the future of Social Security and Medicare but I can do that just fine."[31]

Crossroads GPS ad attacking Scott Peters


Scott Peters vs. Carl DeMaio
Poll Scott Peters Carl DeMaioUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
SurveyUSA (October 17-20, 2014)
SurveyUSA (September 11-15, 2014)
GBA Strategies (July 20-22, 2014)
SurveyUSA (June 10-12, 2013)
AVERAGES 44.75% 45.75% 9.25% +/-4.43 516.75
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Campaign contributions

Scott Peters

Carl DeMaio

Kirk Jorgensen

**As of the 2014 Pre-Primary Report, Jorgensen's committee owed $47,025 in outstanding loans to Kirk Jorgensen.

Fred Simon

**As of the 2014 Pre-Primary Report, Simon's committee owed $1,453,000 in outstanding loans to Fred Simon.

District history

Candidate ballot access
Ballot Access Requirements Final.jpg

Find detailed information on ballot access requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.


On November 6, 2012, Scott Peters (D) won election to the United States House. He defeated Brian Bilbray in the general election.

U.S. House, California District 52 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngScott Peters 51.2% 151,451
     Republican Brian Bilbray Incumbent 48.8% 144,459
Total Votes 295,910
Source: California Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"


On November 2, 2010, Duncan Hunter won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Ray Lutz (D) and Michael Benoit (L) in the general election.[58]

U.S. House, California District 52 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngDuncan Hunter incumbent 63.1% 139,460
     Democratic Ray Lutz 32.1% 70,870
     Libertarian Michael Benoit 4.9% 10,732
Total Votes 221,062

See also

External links


  1. Cook Political Report, "2014 HOUSE RACE RATINGS FOR June 26, 2014," accessed July 28, 2014
  2. Sabato's Crystal Ball, "2014 House Races," accessed July 28, 2014
  3., "AP Interview: DeMaio concedes Calif. House race," November 9, 2014
  4. Real Clear Politics, "California 52nd District - DeMaio vs. Peters," accessed December 16, 2014
  5. Cook Political Report, "2014 HOUSE RACE RATINGS FOR June 26, 2014," accessed July 28, 2014
  6. Sabato's Crystal Ball, "2014 House Races," accessed July 28, 2014
  7. Breitbart, "Gay Republican: 'If I Were a Democrat There Would Be Rioting In The Streets'," accessed December 12, 2014
  8. NBC San Diego, "Screens Smashed, Cords Cut inside DeMaio’s Campaign Office," accessed December 17, 2014
  9. Huffington Post, "House Race Between Carl DeMaio And Scott Peters Seems Like A TV Drama," accessed December 12, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 CNN, "Gay Republican congressional candidate accused of sexual harassment," October 10, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 Associated Press, "AP Interview: DeMaio concedes Calif. House race," accessed December 12, 2014
  12. SF Gate, "California Democrats tally wins, even after election day," accessed January 6, 2015
  13., "Rep. Scott Peters Talks Plans For Upcoming Congressional Term," accessed January 6, 2014
  14. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
  15. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  16. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013, through January 3, 2014, researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
  17. California Secretary of State Website, "Voter Registration," accessed January 3, 2014
  18. California Redistricting Map, "Map," accessed September 25, 2012
  19. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, "DCCC Chairman Steve Israel Announces 2013-2014 Frontline Members," accessed March 5, 2013
  20. Buzzfeed, "Democratic Congressman: People Think My GOP Opponent Is Moderate Because He’s Gay," August 20, 2014
  21. Campaign website, "Issues," accessed April 28, 2014
  22. 22.0 22.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  23. 23.0 23.1, "DeMaio Ahead By 752 Votes Over Peters; Late Mail, Provisional Ballots Still To Be Counted," accessed December 12, 2014
  24. Campaign website, "Issues," accessed April 28, 2014
  25. Clerk of the U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 504," accessed October 31, 2013
  26. Buzzfeed, "Government Shutdown: How We Got Here," accessed October 1, 2013
  27. Clerk of the U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 504," accessed October 31, 2013
  28. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  29. U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 550," accessed October 31, 2013
  30. UT San Diego, "Peters gains U.S. Chamber nod," September 3, 2014
  31. ABC 10 News, "Scott Peters, Carl DeMaio denounce attack ad: Super PAC targets 52nd congressional race," August 19, 2014
  32. Federal Election Commission, "Scott Peters April Quarterly," accessed July 23, 2013
  33. Federal Election Commission, "Scott Peters July Quarterly," accessed July 23, 2013
  34. Federal Election Commission, "Scott Peters October Quarterly," accessed October 21, 2013
  35. Federal Election Commission, "Scott Peters Year-End," accessed February 4, 2014
  36. Federal Election Commission, "Scott Peters April Quarterly," accessed April 21, 2014
  37. Federal Election Commission, "Scott Peters Pre-Primary," accessed June 3, 2014
  38. Federal Election Commission, "Scott Peters July Quarterly," accessed July 23, 2014
  39. Federal Election Commission, "Scott Peters October Quarterly," accessed October 20, 2014
  40. Federal Election Commission, "Scott Peters Pre-General," accessed November 24, 2014
  41. Federal Election Commission, "Carl DeMaio July Quarterly," accessed July 28, 2013
  42. Federal Election Commission, "Carl DeMaio October Quarterly," accessed October 29, 2013
  43. Federal Election Commission, "Carl DeMaio Year-End," accessed February 10, 2014
  44. Federal Election Commission, "Carl DeMaio April Quarterly," accessed May 5, 2014
  45. Federal Election Commission, "Carl DeMaio Pre-Primary," accessed June 3, 2014
  46. Federal Election Commission, "Carl DeMaio July Quarterly," accessed July 28, 2014
  47. Federal Election Commission, "Carl DeMaio October Quarterly," accessed October 23, 2014
  48. Federal Election Commission, "Carl DeMaio Pre-General," accessed November 24, 2014
  49. Federal Election Commission, "Kirk Jorgensen July Quarterly," accessed July 28, 2013
  50. Federal Election Commission, "Kirk Jorgensen October Quarterly," accessed October 29, 2013
  51. Federal Election Commission, "Kirk Jorgensen Year-End," accessed February 10, 2014
  52. Federal Election Commission, "Kirk Jorgensen April Quarterly," accessed May 5, 2014
  53. Federal Election Commission, "Kirk Jorgensen Pre-Primary," accessed June 3, 2014
  54. Federal Election Commission, "Fred Simon October Quarterly," accessed May 6, 2014
  55. Federal Election Commission, "Fred Simon Year-End," accessed May 6, 2014
  56. Federal Election Commission, "Fred Simon April Quarterly," accessed May 6, 2014
  57. Federal Election Commission, "Fred Simon Pre-Primary," accessed June 3, 2014
  58. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013