Republican challenger Young Kim pulled ahead of freshman Democratic Rep. Gil Cisneros late Election Night after slowly closing the initial gap after rounds of ballot tallies.

The district stretches OC, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties.

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Kim was winning on Election Night in the 2018 race and for days after, but Cisneros eventually took the edge after later rounds of ballot counts swung the results in his favor. 

She was chief of staff for former Rep. Ed Royce and she has been a steady presence in the Northern Orange County congressional district, which also touches San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties. She also rallied behind the anti-gas tax measure in 2018 and has consistently made efforts to distance herself from national Republicans.  

Kim, a former state assemblywoman, is aiming to support small businesses during the pandemic, lower taxes and lower health care costs, according to her campaign website. She also distanced herself from President Donald Trump after she criticized some of the language he used to describe the coronavirus pandemic, like calling it the “Chinese flu.” 

Cisneros, a Navy veteran and California lottery winner, criticized Trump and the Senate for confirming Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court while the coronavirus relief package efforts stalled. 

According to his campaign website, Cisneros is looking to defend Obamacare, make college affordable, keep Medicare and Social Security funded and is pushing for more protections for disabled people. He sits on the House Committee on Armed Services and the House Veterans Affairs Committee. 

Voter registration in the 39th Congressional District is pretty even and it could be the no party preference voters who are the deciding voting bloc, as some election experts observed in 2018. 

Spencer Custodio is a Voice of OC staff reporter. You can reach him at Follow him on Twitter @SpencerCustodio

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