Congressional Recount: Evan Low heads to November election as Joe Simitian is knocked off the ballot

The Silicon Valley congressional race that has captivated political onlookers nationwide after it ended in a historic tie and headed to a subsequent recount is finally over after two months, and Assemblymember Evan Low is heading to the November election, knocking competitor Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian off the ballot.

It’s an astounding May end to the March primary and an ensuing April recount that dragged out nearly three weeks — and started with Low trying to halt it before it even began.

The Congressional District 16 race to replace longtime U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo kicked off in November when the 81-year-old lawmaker announced her retirement, setting off a sort of political domino effect in the South Bay as 11 candidates jumped at the rare chance to vie for an open Bay Area congressional seat.

It was competitive campaign from the start, as early data signaled it was the most expensive House race in California, with candidates collectively spending $5.7 million through the first half of February. The first count wound up in a tie for second place, with 30,249 votes each for Low and Simitian. Former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo came in first by more than 8,000 votes.

That set-up a three-way race in November — a first for a California congressional race since the state changed to a top-two primary system more than a decade ago. But then in came Jonathan Padilla, a 2020 and 2024 Biden delegate and former mayoral campaign staffer for Liccardo, who requested the recount since there’s no automatic recount provision for statewide and federal races in California.

After a month of recounting the more than 182,000 votes, and adding a slew of ballots that were excluded in the original count, the final result is 30,261-30,256, with Low ahead of Simitian by 5 votes.

The recount took place in both Santa Clara and San Mateo counties as the district stretches from Los Gatos and San Jose in the south to Pacifica in the north. Santa Clara County wrapped up its recount on Tuesday afternoon — Low gained 11 votes overall and Simitian gained seven compared to the original count.

In San Mateo County, the rescanning of the more than 40,000 ballots was completed last week, and there were no changes in the vote tally for either candidate. But election officials were awaiting information on 16 ballots about postmark dates from the U.S. Postal Service.

Jim Irizarry, the county’s Assistant Chief Elections Officer, said on Wednesday that of the 16 ballots seven were accepted and nine were rejected. Low picked up one vote and Simitian picked up none.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

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