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Lungren, Oller Race Remains A Nailbiter

Neither State Sen. Rico Oller nor Dan Lungren formally acknowledge the race to become the Republican candidate for Congress is over.

Final unofficial results from Tuesday´s primary show Lungren with 38.5 percent of the vote and San Andreas resident Oller with 36.3 percent in districtwide results for the 3rd Congressional District, which is comprised of all or part of Calaveras, Alpine, Amador, Sacramento and Solano counties.

With a number of absentee ballots still to be counted, both of the candidates´ campaign managers were waiting for the official results, which could take up to two weeks.

“This race is far from over,” Oller Campaign Manager Steve Davey said, noting there were probably tens of thousands of ballots to be counted.

“We feel good,” Lungren Campaign Manager Brian Seitchik said, adding, though, that they were not yet ready to claim victory.

While Oller bested Lungren in the foothill counties, Lungren was the favorite Republican in Sacramento and Solano counties.

There were two other Republican candidates.

Mary Ose, sister of outgoing incumbent Doug Ose, received 23.4 percent and Richard Frankhuizen posted 1.8 percent.

Lungren spent about half of what Oller and Ose did on the campaign.

Seitchik said the key word for his candidate´s effort was “patience.”

Oller and Ose got out to an early start, Seitchik said, but Lungren closed strong.

Both sides also believe Sacramento radio talk-show host Tom Sullivan played a part in Lungren´s apparent victory, dedicating much of his election-day program to supporting Lungren.

“I don´t think it hurt Lungren,” Davey said.

“Tom Sullivan was a huge boost for us,” Seitchik said. “We can´t thank Tom enough.”

Both camps have observers at the Sacramento registrar´s office to watch the final counting of ballots, although Davey accused Lungren´s people of trying to keep some votes from being counted.

“That´s not true,” Seitchik replied when told of Davey´s comment. “I really hope they´re not going down that road. We´re just here to observe the process.”

In fact, Seitchik said, Lungren and Oller observers all understand the process and are just watching.

“We´re all co-existing very nicely,” Seitchik said.

Whoever represents the Republicans in the race this November will face Gabe Castillo, the only Democratic contender.

Calaveras Enterprise story by Craig Koscho. For more Calaveras news, click: calaverasenterprise.com