Republican Lesli Gooch’s campaign called for a recount Wednesday in California’s 31st District, which Democrats consider one of their best pick-up opportunities this cycle.
Gooch is a former aide to Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.), whose retirement incited a race for the seat. She trails Redlands, California Mayor Pete Aguilar (D) by just 209 votes for second place after the nonpartisan top-two primary June 3.
“We have been in consultation with campaign attorneys and polling data experts over the past several days. They feel a recount is warranted and have identified precincts that will be recounted,” Gooch’s campaign said in a news release.
National Democrats had put muscle behind Aguilar, whom they need to advance to November's general election. Businessman Paul Chabot has already secured the first-place spot in the primary, finishing more than 5,000 votes ahead of Aguilar and Gooch.
California's primary system, nicknamed a "jungle primary," has played havoc with some Democratic-leaning seats. In 2012, Miller and another Republican advanced past the primary, ensuring a GOP victory even though President Barack Obama carried the district with 57 percent of the vote that year.
Aguilar said that Gooch's request wouldn't change his plans for November.
“I’m disappointed that Lesli Gooch and the Republican Party would challenge the results of this certified election,” he said, according to the San Bernardino Sun. “I was declared as a winner in the election and I expect that the final result will confirm the same thing.”
In the primary, Aguilar had the backing of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and NARAL Pro-Choice America, as Democratic-affiliated groups attempted to solidify his support to prevent a splitting of the vote and repeat of what happened in 2012.