Catherine Blakespear
Catherine Blakespear at a rally on Nov. 6. Photo from her Twitter feed

Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear declared victory Thursday in the race for the 38th State Senate District in north San Diego and south Orange Counties.

With most ballots counted, Blakespear, a Democrat, leads Republican challenger Matt Gunderson, an Orange County auto dealer, by 52.2% to 48.8%.

“I am tremendously grateful to the people of California’s 38th State Senate District for electing me as their next senator,” said Blakespear.

“From Pacific Beach to Mission Viejo, the people of this district chose to defend a woman’s right to choose, protect our environment, support small business owners and the working class, strengthen our gun laws, and ensure a clean, reliable water supply.”

Gunderson has conceded, and Blakespear thanked him for “the worthy issues he raised” in the race.

“I would like to offer my recognition to Matt Gunderson, his family, and his team on running a hard-fought campaign,” she said. “It is a leap of faith to run for office, and there’s the hard reality that there can be only one winner. I thank him for the sacrifices made.”

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