House Democrats can breathe a sigh of relief: their preferred candidate has squeaked through a primary in the race to replace retiring Rep. Gary MillerGary Gene MillerTwo lawmakers propose first House bipartisan Ex-Im bill New Dodd-Frank fix runs risk of Lehman-esque meltdown It's official: Dem squeaks through in key California House primary MORE (R-Calif.), a top pickup opportunity.

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California officials finally closed the vote count Friday afternoon in California's 31st District, 10 days after Redlands Mayor Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarMcCarthy dismisses push for vote on immigration bills Immigration fight gets lonely for some in GOP GOP lawmaker says he has enough support to force immigration votes MORE (D) had barely hung onto second place in the all-party primary. He beat out former Hill staffer Lesli Gooch (R) by just 209 votes out of more than 53,000 cast.

Aguilar's narrow win comes because other Democrats — former Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) and EMILY's List-backed attorney Eloise Gomez Reyes (D) — split the Democratic field.

The result means Democrats will be favored in the fall in a district President Obama won by a double-digit margin. Two years ago, they failed to get Aguilar through to the second round and cost themselves the seat. He'll face Republican Paul Chabot (R), the first-place finisher, this fall, where Aguilar will be heavily favored.