Republican Rep. Mimi Walters was ahead of her Democratic challenger, consumer protection attorney Katie Porter, by 3.4 percent in results for the 45th Congressional District as of 1:40 a.m. on Nov. 7.
Walters was leading with 51.7 percent, to Porter’s 48.3 percent. Her lead narrowed slightly from the initial election count, released at 8:05 p.m., from 5.4 percentage points to 3.4 points.
Almost all of the Election Day votes on electronic voting machines have been counted, though there remain an unknown number of mail-in and provisional ballots left to count.
It will likely take days to count all the ballots in the district, largely due to mail-in ballots that can arrive at election offices as late as Friday.
Editor’s Note:This article was updated with new counts on Election Night. The final update to the article was at 1:40 a.m. on Nov. 7. See an archive below of each Voice of OC update.
The suburban 45th Congressional district is centered in Irvine and includes Tustin, Villa Park, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Laguna Hills, Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita, Mission Viejo and parts of Aliso Viejo and Laguna Niguel.
Walters, 56, was first elected to Congress in 2014 and has won her two previous congressional races handily. Republicans have an almost six percent advantage of voter registration in this district over Democrats, with 36.4 percent of voters Republicans and 30.5 percent Democrats. Voters with no party preference are a close third at 29 percent.
But voters in Walters’ district two years ago voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump 49.8 percent to 44.4 percent, signaling a possible shift in the political winds.
In addition to Walters’ seat, national Democrats targeted about two dozen Republican-held seats nationwide where voters backed Clinton over Trump. They hoped flipping those seats, which include four in Orange County, would give them a majority in the 435-seat House of Representatives.
Before she was elected to Congress, Walters, was a longtime state assemblywoman and senator. A former investment banker, she began her political career after being appointed to the Laguna Niguel City Council in 1996, moving on to serve two terms in the State Assembly beginning in 2004 and then the Senate from 2008 to 2014.
Porter, 44, is a consumer protection attorney and law professor at the University of California, Irvine. A former law student of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Porter touted an endorsement from the prominent Democrat to prove her liberal bona fides in a crowded field of candidates in the primary election.
She supports a single-payer health care system, expanding Social Security programs, and like Warren, aggressive regulations of big banks. Porter has attacked Walters for her conservative voting record and, following this season’s Democratic playbook, said Walters is a proxy for Trump and special interests.
ELECTION COUNT UPDATES:
[8:05 p.m. Election Day, Nov. 6] The first reported election count showed Walters ahead 52.7 percent to 47.3 percent.
[11:23 p.m. Election Day, Nov. 6] Latest election count showed Walters’ lead narrowed slightly from the initial results, from 5.4 percentage points to 4.6 points.
[12:30 a.m. Nov. 7] Updated to show Walters’ lead narrowed to 4.4 percent.
[1:30 a.m. Nov. 7] Updated to show Walters’ lead narrowed to 3.4 percent.
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