SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Republican Rep. Dan Lungren has lost his re-election bid to Democratic challenger Ami Bera in one of California's most hotly contested congressional contests.
Voters from the Sacramento suburbs ousted the veteran lawmaker in the race for the state's newly redrawn 7th Congressional District. This was the second attempt for Bera, a 45-year-old physician who failed to unseat Lungren two years ago.
Bera challenged Lugren back in 2010 but came up short by 7 percentage points.
The Associated Press called the race for Bera on Thursday. He defeated Lungren 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent.
"It's quite an honor to serve residents of Sacramento County. There's no greater privilege," Bera said.
Bera's win adds to Democratic gains in California's congressional races. The state's majority party benefited from an independent redistricting process that was in full effect for the first time this year.
Bera believes he won because people are ready for a change. He also believes redistricting could have played a part.
Before, the district had more 9,000 more Republicans than Democrats. After redistricting, there were 5,000 more Democrats than Republicans.
"I think most of us want to move past Democrat vs. Republican," Bera said. "I think we want to find common values that bind us together as Sacramentans."
Before the Nov. 6 election, California's congressional delegation had 33 Democrats, 19 Republicans and one vacancy in a Democratic district.
Outgoing congressman Lungren hasn't called Bera yet. The Associate Press said Lungren would not to concede, to which Bera replied that he thanks Lungren for his many years of service.
"The AP has called the race. Let's honor him," Bera said. "He'll do the right thing when he's ready."
The Associated Press and News10/KXTV