With Democratic hopes of reclaiming control of the U.S. House long dashed, they could look to two new members of the California congressional delegation elected to open seats as they waited on the handful of competitive races to be decided.
Going into the election,
Early returns showed incumbents who weren't in any danger had been reelected. At midnight the Associated Press had called 43 of the 53 races, with a handful of interesting contests decided or headed to a victor.
In the 21st District, Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) defeated Democratic attorney Emilio Huerta.
Democrats had hoped that Huerta’s name ID (his mother is labor rights icon Dolores Huerta) and
With nearly 65% of precincts in, the congressman was leading 58.3% to 41.7%.
Rep. Mike Honda was defeated by fellow Democrat Ro Khanna, 58.5% to 41.5%. He appeared to be the only California incumbent to lose.
Honda defeated Khanna two years ago by 3.6 percentage points in a nasty fight, and the rematch had been closely watched. Honda went into the 2016 race with an ethics complaint against him that is still being investigated by the House Ethics Committee. His campaign sued Khanna's campaign, alleging his rival's campaign manager stole the donor information at the root of the complaint.
The district includes heavily Asian communities in Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Milpitas and part of San Jose and stretches north to Fremont and Newark.
In north Los Angeles County, Republican Rep.
Unexpected fight for Issa
The contest between Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) and retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate was far from a result at midnight.
Democrats have focused heavily on Orange and San Diego counties' 49th District in the past month, in hopes they could take down the eight-term congressman, who's long been a thorn in the Obama administration's side.
Issa was leading 52.3% to 47.7%, but with less than half of votes counted.
Last week, House Minority Leader
Bera appears safe
In the Sacramento area's 7th District, Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) was leading Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, a Republican. With two-thirds of the vote in, Bera was ahead 53.4% to 46.6%.
Bera and Jones have both been plagued by ethical questions this cycle, and the contest appeared to be the GOP's best chance of picking up a seat in California.
Central Valley staying red?
As Valadao prevailed, Rep.
This race is critical to Democrats' hopes for adding to their majority within the congressional delegation. They attempted to tie Denham to Trump, whose favorability is terrible in California.
As they cast votes, about 63% of California voters told exit pollsters they were dissatisfied or angry with how the federal government is working.
Of those who were more optimistic about Washington, 81% voted for Clinton. Among those who said they were unhappy with the federal government, 44% voted for Trump.
The open seats
At minimum, California will have four new members of Congress in January, because incumbents didn't run for reelection in the 20th, 24th, 44th and 46th districts.
All four seats have been held by Democrats.
In the 20th District, Monterey County Deputy Dist. Atty. Jimmy
Panetta, whose father, Leon Panetta, represented the Central Coast for 15 years, had been a favorite since entering the race.
Democratic Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal was elected in the 24th District held by retiring Rep.
The race in the Los Angeles port communities’ 44th District was tight, with Compton state Sen.
The race between the two Democrats has been bitter since the primary and in the final days of the election came to a sharp, racially tinged edge.
Voters in Orange County picked between two Democrats for the first time Tuesday, and former state Sen.
The Sanchez election watch party Tuesday night was held at a campaign office the two of them share.
The central Orange County district includes Disneyland, the Latino-heavy city of Santa Ana to the south and, to the east, a strip of Little Saigon.
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Read more about the 55 members of California's delegation at latimes.com/politics