Rep. Darrell Issa. Courtesy of the Congressman’s office

Rep. Darrell Issa on Wednesday officially claimed victory in his bid for a ninth term against his Democratic challenger, retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate.

Issa had a 3,979-vote lead over Applegate — 51.1 percent-48.9 percent, according to figures released by the Secretary of State’s Office, with mail-in and provisional votes still to be counted.

“As the final ballots are counted, we are confident they will affirm the results from election night,” Issa said. “The voters of the 49th District have spoken, and I am grateful for their support in our winning campaign.

I look forward to working on their behalf in Congress next year, and I am eager to join with the new administration to advance the best interests of the American people and restore the focus of Washington where it belongs — economic prosperity, national security and government accountability.

First elected to Congress in 2000, Issa won a bare majority of votes in the June primary election after years of being re-elected by double-digit margins.

In the months since, Democrats poured a considerable amount of money into the race, and narrowed a deficit in voter registration in the San Diego County portion of the district. Issa also represents part of southern Orange County.

As the head of a House oversight committee, Issa led numerous investigations into President Barack Obama’s and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s role in the deaths of four Americans — including three with ties to San Diego — in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.

Issa’s latest re-election try turned into a political slugfest, forcing him to spend more time campaigning in his district than in previous elections.

Applegate and other Democrats hammered Issa during the campaign for endorsing businessman Donald J. Trump for president, after spending most of the primary season backing Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

If you start compromising what you believe and who you’re going to support based on your political well-being, you’re going to stand for nothing,” Issa told Fox5 San Diego.

Trump’s statements were “reprehensible” but Clinton disqualified herself by mishandling classified material while she was secretary of state, he said.

The other members of the region’s five-representative House delegation won in comfortable fashion — Republican Duncan D. Hunter, and Democrats Susan Davis, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas.

— City News Service

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.