McClintock holding slim lead over Brown

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Congressional opponents Tom McClintock and Charlie Brown were in a near dead heat – with a race too close to call as election returns began to come in from around the 4th District. In Placer County, Brown was trailing McClintock, with 49.48 percent to 50.29 percent of the vote. And in the district, which takes in all or parts of nine counties, Brown had polled 93,120 votes to McClintock’s 94,120. McClintock’s slim lead over his Democratic Party opponent was a possible silver lining in a night for Republicans that saw presidential hopes dashed and losses in the Senate and Congress. Bill George, McClintock communications director, said early returns matched expectations that the state Senator from Ventura County would initially stay close to Brown and then pull the election out by the end of the night as more returns from GOP strongholds like Placer County were counted. While Republicans watched big-screen TVs in a Roseville hall festooned with McClintock signs, Democrats were watching TVs less than a mile away in Downtown Roseville’s opera house decorated with Brown signs – and cheering the Barack Obama victory speech. Robert Blum, an El Dorado Hills Brown supporter, said he wasn’t expecting the close 4th District race to be decided early on. “Voters of the 4th District deserve him – he’s an honorable fellow who ran an honest campaign,” Blum said of Brown. “We’ll know by tomorrow morning how he did.” The two candidates were running to succeed veteran District 4 Congressman John Doolittle, R-Roseville. Doolittle won a close contest two years ago against Brown and announced he wouldn’t run again last winter. McClintock won easily against former Sacramento Congressman Doug Ose in the June primary to move on to Tuesday’s election against Brown, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who wasn’t seriously challenged in his second primary run for the 4th District seat. Ed Rowan, who said he walked about 30 precincts in Rocklin for McClintock, expressed confidence that McClintock would pull away. “In the long run, Charlie Brown didn’t see the issues,” he said. “The worst thing in the world are earmarks. I don’t think he understood that.” The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at