In the first round of the special election to fill the US House seat formerly held by the Crooked Duke, Francine Busby leads the field by a surprisingly large margin, with 43.92%. A second Democrat, Chris Young (not to be confused with the Padre pitcher), placed in the top ten in the field of 18 candidates, with 1.32%.
Busby will face former Rep. Brian Bilbray in the runoff in June. Bilbray won 15.15%. Also in the runoff will be William Griffith (independent, 0.82%) and Paul King (Libertarian, 0.6%).
Bilbray won the Republican slot in the runoff over Eric Roach by 880 votes (0.69%). The third Republican, former Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian, had 7.45%, and the fourth, former state Senator Bill Morrow, had only 5.39%.
Busby has more votes than the top four Republicans combined. Yet it is hard to see where she would get the extra votes she will need to beat Bilbray. She is probably also hurt by the twin facts that Bilbray is a relative moderate and there is no hard-right candidate in a third party who might hurt the Republican.
Nearly 44% of the vote for a Democrat in this district is impressive. But that moral victory still looks to me like the only kind she will get.