Democratic Rep. Mike Levin holds on to his coastal Southern California district seat

Side by side photos of Democratic Rep. Mike Levin and Republican rival Brian Maryott
Incumbent Democratic Rep. Mike Levin, left, defeated GOP rival Brian Maryott in the 49th Congressional District, which straddles Orange and San Diego counties.

Democratic Rep. Mike Levin has won reelection in a coastal congressional district that straddles Orange and San Diego counties.

Levin beat Brian Maryott, a Republican businessman and former San Juan Capistrano mayor, in a rematch of the 2020 contest. The Associated Press called the race Wednesday, though official results will take longer.

Levin on Wednesday thanked his family, volunteers and supporters, and he also praised Maryott. (The two live in the same town and attend the same church.)


“A thriving democracy requires competition for citizens’ votes, and to those who voted for Mr. Maryott, I want to reassure you that my door is always open,” Levin said in a statement. “I welcome opportunities to work together because the best legislation is always that with the broadest input. I firmly believe that Representative is not just my job title, it’s also my job description.”

As Maryott acknowledged his loss Thursday, he reiterated his campaign slogan of “People Before Politics.”

“Politics is to be tolerated — as little as is absolutely necessary — along the way to solving the pressing challenges of our times,” he said. “But people must come first, and the obligation to deliver them tangible results should be paramount.”

The contest had appeared so close that President Biden campaigned with Levin just days before the election — a sign of Democrats’ concern about holding on to the seat as they battled for control of the House, which tipped to Republicans on Wednesday.

The 49th Congressional District stretches from Laguna Beach to Del Mar and includes Camp Pendleton and a mothballed nuclear power plant. It’s one of several blue-state districts that overwhelmingly supported Biden in 2020 and were targeted by Republicans in the midterm election. The GOP had hoped Biden’s low approval ratings and the nation’s economic straits would boost their candidates.

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Democrats have a scant 3.1-percentage-point edge in voter registration in the district, which is home to many commuters. Much of Maryott’s campaign focus was on pocketbook matters at a time of surging inflation and high gas prices.

Levin, who worked as an environmental attorney before being elected to the House in 2018, has pushed a bold clean-energy agenda, supporting zero-emission vehicles and banning new drilling off the California coast.

But he has also prioritized issues that are of particular importance to the district’s voters, including improving services for veterans and moving the radioactive waste buried at the closed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

After his race was called Wednesday, Levin in his statement mentioned his work on healthcare, climate change, veterans services, semiconductors and infrastructure.

“I am particularly honored to have been able to work across the aisle to build bipartisan, common-sense coalitions to tackle many of these issues,” he said. “There is much more to be done, and I look forward to the challenge.”

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