Election 2014: Ventura Congresswoman Brownley doubles lead in still-close contest

Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Ventura)
Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Ventura)
Kitty Felde/KPCC
Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Ventura)
Lieutenant Commander and Assemblyman Jeff Gorell

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Democratic Congresswoman Julia Brownley doubled her lead over Jeff Gorell, to 1,023 votes, as more ballots were counted in Ventura County Friday. But Brownley is less than 1 percent ahead of her Republican challenger, and more than 40,000 ballots are still uncounted.

The Ventura Registrar of Voters posted an update Friday showing Brownley leading by 1,347 votes. But Brownley was behind in the seven precincts of the district that are in Los Angeles County, by 324 votes.

Brownley told KPCC that the Westlake Village precincts are "such a very very small piece of the pie, you know as long as we continue to increase our lead, which is happening in Ventura County, I don’t think we have to be too concerned."

About 33,000 mail-in ballots and 9,500 provisional ballots remain uncounted in Ventura and about 5,000 mail ballots are uncounted in Los Angeles, according to estimates by voting officials and the two campaigns.

Neither Brownley nor a spokesman for Jeff Gorell would say whether they’d consider asking – and paying for – a recount. But Brownley’s fundraisers are sending out emails to support “the recount fund.” 

Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton flew to Ventura this fall to help freshman Brownley keep her Congressional seat, which she had won by fewer than 10,000 votes in 2012.

Gorell, a military veteran, had mounted a powerful effort to defeat Brownley, attracting support from House Speaker John Boehner and independent spending from a Koch brothers political action committed.

Down in San Diego, freshman Democrat Scott Peters increased his lead over GOP rival, former city councilman Carl DeMaio, to 4,491 votes. The San Diego County Registrar of Voters says at 5 pm Friday,  there are still 10,000 votes in that district still to count.

The Secretary of State has until December 5th to officially certify election results.