Every House seat in Orange County, once the home of the conservative movement, will now be held by a Democrat
Orange County, California, long one of the biggest Republican strongholds in the country, is expected to have zero Republicans representing it in Congress next year.
Democrat Katie Porter officially defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Mimi Walters in California’s 45th congressional district on Thursday, and Democrat Gil Cisneros has taken nearly a 1,000-vote lead over Republican Young Kim in the last uncalled California race, in the state’s 39th district. If Cisneros’ lead holds – and most observers expect it to grow – Orange County will have zero Republican representatives. Before this year’s midterms, the GOP held four of the six House seats that are entirely or partly in the county.
Porter was declared the winner over Walters after taking a 6,000-vote lead. Earlier, Democrat Harley Rouda ousted 15-term incumbent Republican Dana Rohrabacher in the state’s 48th district and Democrat Mike Levin defeated Republican Diane Harkey to win the seat vacated by retiring Rep. Darrell Issa, who had been in Congress since 2001.
Republicans had carried Orange County in every presidential race going back to 1936 until the district backed Hillary Clinton by 8 percentage points in 2016. Weeks before the midterms, Orange County Republican Party chair Fred Whitaker boldly declared to the Toronto Star that Democrats were “not going to win a single one” of the county’s seats.
The Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman projected that Cisneros is “on track to complete the Dems’ wipeout of GOP in Orange County,” adding that it now seemed “virtually certain” that the county long known as the birthplace of the modern conservative movement and Richard Nixon’s political base “will be represented by zero Republicans in Congress in 2019.”