After a brutal campaign in Southern California, where she spent over $24 million to defend her seat in a closely divided coastal district, Democratic Representative Katie Porter was reelected on Thursday. The area she represents is one of the most competitive in the country.
Porter won the race against Republican Scott Baugh, a former legislator, by a margin of around 8,200 votes, with 51.6% of the vote to 48.4%, when nearly all of the votes were counted.
The Republicans took back control of the House of Representatives on Wednesday. As a result of Porter’s victory, Republicans will hold 218 seats in the upcoming legislative session, while Democrats will hold 212. There are still a few races that have not been decided, and the counting has not yet been completed in those races.
Porter was running for office in a district that had been significantly reconfigured and now included her hometown of Irvine, along with many voters who were unfamiliar with her. The campaign offered a dramatic contrast between the two candidates.
Porter, a star of the party’s progressive wing, which is known for questioning CEOs during hearings on Capitol Hill, centred her campaign on protecting abortion rights and increasing access to health care while highlighting her work as a consumer advocate, including her fight against high credit card fees. She contended that oil companies were artificially limiting supply in order to maintain record levels of profit.
Scott Baugh (R) called Rep. Katie Porter (D) tonight to concede in the CA-47 House race, per two sources with knowledge. A close and highly competitive contest in Orange County, California.
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) November 18, 2022
The conservative Baugh, a former head of the county GOP, laid the responsibility for inflation, skyrocketing gas costs, and heavy taxes that cut into household budgets on congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden.
Both candidates portrayed one another as radicals in their campaigns.
Orange County was initially known as “Reagan country” due to its ties to former Republican President Ronald Reagan and conservative politics; nevertheless, Porter’s victory was another indicator that the political landscape of Orange County was shifting in a more progressive direction.
The once predominately white and Republican county, which now has a population of over 3 million, has become increasingly diverse demographically and more Democratic. In the presidential election of 2020, Biden won Porter’s district by a margin of more than ten percentage points.
Even though the victory was close, people are unlikely to stop talking about Porter’s political future; she is frequently cited as a possible candidate for the United States Senate.
The race for the open seat in District 13 is shaping up to be the most competitive one left in the state, and it’s taking place in the Central Valley, where Republican John Duarte has taken a razor-thin lead against Democrat Adam Gray. With around 90% of the votes counted, the most recent tallies put Duarte in the information by a margin of fewer than one thousand votes.
Another fight that was still unclear was in the expansive 3rd Congressional District of the state, which stretches from the suburbs of Sacramento to the inner spine of the state. Democrat Kermit Jones, a physician who served in the Navy, was trailing his Republican opponent, state assemblyman and Republican Kevin Kiley.
In the 22nd Congressional District, located in the Central Valley, where approximately two-thirds of the votes have been counted, Republican Representative David Valadao, who voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump, had a 5.6-point lead over Democratic Candidate Rudy Salas, which was equivalent to approximately 4,000 votes.
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