(CNSNews.com) - A liberal advocacy group Wednesday downplayed Republican Brian Bilbray's victory over Democrat Francine Busby in California's special congressional election, saying they're "encouraged" because Busby "clearly was able to draw thousands of independent and Republican voters in an overwhelmingly Republican district."
Bilbray led Busby by about 5 points -- 49.5-45 percent, according to Wednesday morning press reports.
"The race indicates that voters across party lines are ready for a change - and that augurs well for Democrats in November. If independents and Republicans break in the rest of the country the way they broke in CA-50, the Democrats will retake the House," said Eli Pariser, executive director of MoveOn.org Political Action, in a statement.
"A quick analysis of the numbers demonstrates how profound the shift is. Of all primary voters in that district yesterday, 56.5 percent were GOP primary voters, yet Bilbray only ended up taking 49.48 percent of the special election vote," said Pariser.
"In the special election, Bilbray's vote total was 58,566. That exceeds the total of all GOP primary votes cast by only 1,081," Pariser said, adding that Busby received "a substantial number" of Republican votes.
"On the other hand, Busby got 53,598 votes in the special, which exceeds the total number of votes cast in the Democratic primary by nearly 9,369. It's morning-after, back-of-the-envelope math, but it appears either Busby won Independents nine to one or wooed a substantial number of Republicans," Pariser concluded.
Bilbray Defeats Busby (June 7, 2006)
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