Election 2016: Panetta takes congressional seat by wide margin

The San Benito County League of United Latin American Citizens Council sponsored a breakfast Nov. 11. The Assistant District Attorney of Monterey County Jimmy Panetta served in the Navy and was one of the guest speakers.

Democratic candidate Jimmy Panetta won the District 20 congressional seat on Tuesday.

Panetta won 58.94 percent of the county vote with 6,909 votes, with all precincts reporting as of Wednesday morning. Republican candidate Casey Lucius received 41.06 percent of the vote with 4,813 votes.

There’s a wider gap between the candidates for the overall district. Panetta won 70.6 percent of the district, with 103,059 votes and all precincts reporting. Lucius won 29.4 percent of the district, with 42,981 votes.

Lucius conceded to Panetta on Tuesday night. She congratulated him on the win and said she’d do all she could to support him.

Both candidates answered questions at an October forum. At the forum, Panetta was asked what kind of presence he would have in the small district.

“It gets back to working together and making sure that you don’t just show up, but that you serve the people of this district,” he said at the time.

Panetta went on to say he understood that the Hollister Fire Department didn’t receive a SAFER federal grant that funded 12 firefighters, worth more than $1 million annually, and that the reason was the application wasn’t detailed enough.

“There needs to be more coordination with the congressional office to make sure grants like that are done correctly and done appropriately so that when they put it forward, and it’s accepted or declined, they know exactly why,” he said at the time. “There needs to be coordination and it should start with your congressman’s office.”

Panetta’s campaign staff later clarified in an email to the Free Lance that the candidate “understands that these grants are very competitive, so we need to make sure that our applications are the most thorough and make it to the top of the pile. His point was that we need to work together to advocate for our region so that we can compete with others and keep these resources in our district.”

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