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With a 6th Seat Flipped, Calif. Dems Cement a Rout in House

Gil Cisneros defeats Republican in Orange County, Richard Nixon's birthplace
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 18, 2018 10:21 AM CST
In this Monday, Nov. 5, 2018 file photo, Gil Cisneros, a Democratic candidate who is running for a US House seat in California's 39th District, speaks during a campaign stop in Buena Park, Calif. Cisneros...   (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)
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(Newser) – Democrat Gil Cisneros captured a Republican-held US House seat in Southern California, capping a Democratic rout in which the party picked up six congressional seats in the state. In what had been the last undecided House contest in California, Cisneros beat Republican Young Kim for the state's 39th District seat. The Cisneros victory Saturday cements a stunning political realignment that will leave a vast stretch of the Los Angeles metropolitan area under Democratic control in the House. With Kim's defeat, four Republican-held House districts all or partly in Orange County, a one-time nationally known GOP stronghold southeast of Los Angeles, will have shifted in one election to the Democratic column. The change means that the county—Richard Nixon's birthplace and site of his presidential library—will only have Democrats representing it in Washington next year.

The Orange County Democratic Party said it's the first time since 1940 that all seven House seats in the county, home to 3.2 million people, are in Democratic control. Three seats all or partly in the northwestern end of the county are held by Democrats who were easily re-elected. Democrats also picked up the last Republican-held House seat anchored in Los Angeles County, reports the AP, when Democrat Katie Hill ousted Republican Rep. Steve Knight. Republicans also lost a seat in the agricultural Central Valley. With other gains, Democrats will hold a 45-8 edge in California US House seats next year. Cisneros, 47, a $266 million lottery winner, had been locked in a close race with Kim in a district that has grown increasingly diverse. It's about equally divided between Republicans, Democrats, and independents, as it is with Asians, Hispanics, and whites.

Democrats are on track to hold every statewide office — again. The party holds a supermajority in both chambers of the Legislature and has a 3.7-million advantage in voter registration.

(Read more Orange County stories.)

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