Orange County Shifts from Red to Blue in Historic Election

Orange County, once known as a conservative stronghold, will be represented in the House exclusively by Democrats for the first time since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency.

Four Democratic challengers, all first time candidates—Mike Levin, Gil Cisneros, Katie Porter and Harley Rouda—will serve as freshmen legislators.  While Representatives Mimi Walters, Dana Rohrabacher and Ed Royce were elected in 2016 with comfortable double-digit margins, Walters and Rohrabacher were defeated with Royce retiring. 

Changing demographics, a substantial increase of young voters, and an anti-incumbent disposition sealed the fate of the county. 

The “blue wave” trickled into down-ticket elections with Assemblymember Matthew Harper losing his seat to Democrat Cottie Petrie-Norris, a business owner in Costa Mesa and St. Senator Janet Nguyen lost to former Assemblymember Tom Umberg. 

Irvine and Anaheim elected business-friendly representatives and several cities elected a record number of women and minorities that better reflect the changing county.

Republicans remain in control of the Board of Supervisors, but voters elected Democrat Doug Chaffee to the Fourth District to break the all GOP majority.

A hotly-contested special election for the Third District of the Board of Supervisors—vacated by District Attorney-Elect Todd Spitzer—will be a race to watch with several current and former local electeds announcing their candidacy including Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray, Irvine Mayor Don Wagner and former Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez.

For more info, contact Alicia Berhow, OCBC Sr. Vice President.

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