Gil Cisneros has defeated Republican Young Kim in the 39th Congressional District, putting the seat held by retiring GOP Rep. Ed Royce into the Democrats’ column. His victory means the longtime conservative stronghold of Orange County will be represented entirely by Democrats in the House next session.
Kim and Cisneros had been locked in battle over the seat left open by Royce’s retirement. Kim was considered by many to have an edge going into the race because of her name recognition and long history as a district staffer for Royce, who had endorsed her.
Cisneros, who dominated the money race by pouring $9 million of his own funds into his first run for office, tried to use President Trump’s unpopularity to weigh down Kim’s bid, even registering a lookalike campaign web address that declared “Young Kim is Donald Trump.” Kim broke with Trump on several of his policies, including family separation at the border and curtailing family-sponsored visas. Nearly a third of the district’s residents are Asian American, and a third are Latino.
First-time candidate Katie Porter, a UC Irvine law professor and consumer protection attorney, defeated two-time incumbent Rep. Mimi Walters of Laguna Niguel in California’s 45th Congressional District, becoming the first Democrat elected to the seat in the longtime Republican stronghold in Orange County.
Porter ran on a progressive platform, touting her support for universal healthcare and vowing to take corporate money out of politics. Her victory in the wealthy, highly educated district including Tustin and Mission Viejo, which had never sent a Democrat to Congress, signals the shifting political landscape in the county.
Walters, a former state legislator, was first elected to the seat in 2014 by a wide margin and reelected in 2016 by a comfortable 17 percentage points, even as Hillary Clinton won the tony suburban district by five points.
Republican Rep. Jeff Denham has lost a tight race against Democrat Josh Harder in a heated race for the Central Valley’s 10th Congressional District.
The seat was one of seven in California heavily targeted by national Democrats after the election of President Trump. Denham, 51, had previously beaten the odds in a district carried by Hillary Clinton and President Obama in the last two presidential elections.
Harder, 32, an investor and former venture capitalist, spent most of the last decade going to school and working on the East Coast. But he was born and raised in the district and said he decided to take on Denham upon his return to stand up to Trump and protect residents’ healthcare.
Republican incumbent Tom McClintock of Elk Grove has defeated Democrat Jessica Morse to retain his seat representing California’s 4th Congressional District.
Morse, 36, jumped into the race after the election of President Trump and gave Democrats new hope of riding a national wave of energy among young voters and suburban moms to victory. But the national security strategist faced long odds in the Sierra Nevada district, home to the highest share of registered Republicans in the state.
The sleepy region primarily covers Placer and El Dorado counties; it is anchored by Sacramento suburbs and stretches from Lake Tahoe in the north to Kings Canyon National Park in the south.
GOP Rep. David Valadao has outrun Democrat TJ Cox for a Central Valley seat that has long eluded Democrats despite favorable odds.
California’s 21st Congressional District, which tilts against Republicans in terms of registered voters, was one of seven seats across the state targeted by national Democrats soon after the election of President Trump. But Valadao once more proved to be a formidable incumbent in a district that he won with more than 55% of the vote in his previous three elections.
Democrats have struggled with ineffective campaigns and low voter turnout in the district, whose population is more than 70% Latino, that stretches across the rural parts of Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties. The nonpartisan handicapper Cook Political Report had labeled the race “likely Republican.”
Democratic leaders may hold up the Golden State as the center of the country's resistance to President Trump, but they can’t write off California’s Republican and independent voters. Despite limited money and little name recognition, Cox got 40.6% of the vote in Tuesday’s election. That number could change as provisional and late mail-in ballots are counted, but it’s in line with previous Republican gubernatorial candidates including Neel Kashkari (40%) and Meg Whitman (41%) in their bids.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday he has conceded defeat to Democrat Tony Evers in their election contest.
Walker said he called Evers to offer his concession concede defeat. The two-term Republican incumbent said he had held off because the race was so close, but that his campaign decided Wednesday there were not enough votes in play to change the outcome.
Based on unofficial results, Evers won by about 31,000 votes.
Republican Rep. Steve Knight of Palmdale conceded to Democratic challenger Katie Hill on Wednesday as votes were still being counted in the race to represent California’s 25th Congressional District in northern Los Angeles County.
Knight’s defeat was a major blow to the Republican Party, which lost one of its last footholds in a county that is tilting more and more Democratic as growing Latino and Asian American populations reshape the region’s politics.
Knight, an Army veteran who served 18 years as a Los Angeles police officer, was first elected to the House in 2014. He took pains during the campaign to cast himself as a nonpartisan problem solver for constituents with a more moderate approach to immigration than President Trump.
Democrats made gains at the state level as well on Tuesday, though they were greater in governors’ mansions.
Democrats captured seven governorships from Republican control. These wins break up the Republicans’ single-party control of state government in both Michigan and Wisconsin. The split of governors’ seats between the parties has narrowed significantly from 17 to three.
Democrats won majorities in six state houses, but Republicans still hold a large advantage nationwide. The results were slightly less than the eight gained by the party in 2006 and half of the 12 that Republicans gained in 1994.