Rouda and Steel headed for November face-off for 48th Congressional District seat

Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) and Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel (R-Seal Beach) are the highest-profile candidates among six running for Rouda's 48th Congressional District seat.
(File Photos)

Rep. Harley Rouda will continue his run for a second term in Congress, with Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel challenging him in November for the opportunity to represent the 48th Congressional District, according to early results of Tuesday’s primary election.

Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) had 43.7% of the vote as of 1:05 a.m. Wednesday, with about 45% of precincts reporting, and Steel (R-Seal Beach) picking up 36.7%. The two candidates receiving the most votes in the primary advance to the general election Nov. 3.

Rouda pulled into the top spot after trailing Steel slightly in earlier returns.

Among the four other candidates in the race — Republicans Brian Burley, James Brian Griffin and John Thomas Schuesler and independent Richard Mata — none had more than Burley’s 12.8% of the vote.

The Orange County registrar of voters website projects the next results update at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The 48th Congressional District includes Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Seal Beach, Laguna Niguel and parts of Garden Grove, Midway City, Aliso Viejo, Santa Ana and Westminster.

Rouda won his first two-year term in the House of Representatives by unseating 30-year Republican incumbent Dana Rohrabacher in 2018. Rouda is a member of the Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. He also is chairman of the oversight committee’s subcommittee on environment. Before being elected, he was a lawyer and real estate businessman.

Steel, who announced her bid for Congress in May, represents the 2nd District on the Board of Supervisors, which includes Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Cypress, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Seal Beach, Stanton and parts of Fountain Valley and Buena Park. She has held that seat since 2014 and currently is the board’s chairwoman. Steel also was a member of the California State Board of Equalization.

Vote percentages for 48th Congressional District candidates (as of 1:05 a.m. Wednesday)
Brian Burley: 12.8%
James Brian Griffin: 1.4%
Richard Mata: 2.7%
Harley Rouda (incumbent): 43.7%
John Thomas Schuesler: 2.6%
Michelle Steel: 36.7%

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10:07 p.m. March 3, 2020: This article was originally published at 8:50 p.m. Tuesday and has been updated with new information.