Democrat candidate Harley Rouda declared victory Saturday morning in his campaign to unseat Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa in the coastal 48th Congressional District.

But Rohrabacher didn’t concede defeat.

The latest results, released at 5 p.m. Saturday, showed Rouda leading by 4 percentage points— or 8,510 votes – with an estimated 69 percent of the ballots counted.

“Since November 6th, my lead over Dana Rohrabacher has increased with every passing day,” Rouda said in his statement Saturday morning declaring victory.

“After careful consideration of the data provided by the fantastic team at the Orange County Registrar of Voters, my staff and I are now confident that we have won the Congressional race in California’s 48th District.”

Rohrabacher doesn’t plan to release a public statement until all the remaining ballots are counted, according to his campaign.

“We don’t anticipate issuing a statement until the vote count is complete,” said Dale Neugebauer, a spokesman for Rohrabacher’s campaign.

“There are more than 300,000 ballots remaining to be tallied countywide, and many of those are from the 48th district. We have volunteer observers at the Registrar of Voters monitoring the ballot processing as it progresses.”

Rouda is among four Democrat candidates who sought to flip Republican-held Congressional seats in Orange County in Tuesday’s election.

Rouda, in his statement, vowed to work for every constituent in his district.

“This victory has been powered by voters across the political spectrum, hailing from all corners, and all communities, of the 48th District. I am deeply humbled and honored to have the opportunity to serve in Congress. Going forward, my mission is to be the absolute best kind of public servant – honest, transparent, accessible and tireless in serving the greater good,” Rouda said in the statement

“With my campaign now drawn to a close, my work on behalf of the people of Orange County – on behalf of each and every constituent in the 48th District – begins immediately.”

When vote counting stopped ahead of the 5 p.m. Saturday update, Rouda had 109,591 votes to Rohrabacher’s 101,081.

Nick Gerda covers county government and Santa Ana for Voice of OC. You can contact him at

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