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Two congressional Democrats in tight reelection fights declare victory

November 11, 2010 | 11:49 am

Ballots are still being counted, but Democratic Reps. Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton and Jim Costa of Fresno have declared victory in close races against Republican challengers in the election held last week.

Neither GOP candidate has conceded.

"I’m honored to have the opportunity to continue serving the people of the 11th Congressional District," McNerney said in a statement Thursday. "I’ll continue to be an independent voice for this area, work to create jobs locally and stand up for our veterans."

The incumbent has a 1,685-vote lead over Republican David Harmer, with about 11,000 provisional ballots still to be counted.

"With the vast majority of votes tallied, the results are clear.  Congressman McNerney now has an insurmountable lead," said Doug Greven, McNerney’s campaign manager.

Costa declared victory over Republican challenger Andy Vidak in the 20th Congressional District based on what he said was a 1,200-vote lead. There are about 20,000 ballots still to be counted, but a campaign aide said the trends favor Costa.

"This has been a hard-fought campaign," Costa said in a statement. "It appears that it is now over. I believe our 1,200-vote margin will not only stand up, but will increase as the remaining few ballots are counted."

Vidak could not be reached for comment, but told the Fresno Bee on Wednesday, "You can look at trends, but to declare victory, well, it's not over till it's over."

Harmer’s campaign manager, Cameron Wilkinson, sent an e-mail out Thursday indicating the campaign is still closely monitoring the vote count.

"Thousands of ballots remain to be counted, so it’s not over," he wrote. "We’ll see the process through to the end. However this election turns out, we’ll have a clear conscience. We left it all on the field. I’m certain that we did everything possible -- within the bounds of morality and ethics -- to secure a victory in California’s 11th District."

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento