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Orange County seems on track to remain a Purple region, with both Democrats and Republicans appearing to maintain seats, lose some and flip others at the national, state, and local level.
As of the latest Wednesday night results update, most race results didn’t change much. A much larger update is expected from the Orange County Registrar of Voters tomorrow.
Looking at current results, it seems that Orange County’s shade of purple leans Blue or Red depending on what part of the county you’re at.
At the national level, two Democratic congressmen — Harley Rouda and Gil Cisneros — are on track to lose their seats to their Republican challengers, Michelle Steel and Young Kim, respectively. Though the Republicans’ leads continued to be tight as of Wednesday night.
On the other hand, Democratic incumbents Katie Porter and Mike Levin are on track to hold on to their seats with wide leads over their Republican challengers, Greg Raths and Brian Maryott.
At the state level, the shade of purple hued bluer with five Democrats on track to either win or keep their Assembly seats while four Republicans were on track to win or keep some.
At the county level, First District OC Supervisor Andrew Do was on track to keep his seat, staving off Democratic challenger and Westminster City Councilman Sergio Contreras.
In Santa Ana, there seems to be a more progressive majority taking hold. In Anaheim a more resort-friendly coalition appears to be forming, as of the latest results report. In Irvine, voters seemed to have turned against developer-backed candidates.
Republicans look like they could retake some lost ground in the 2018 elections with Young Kim and county Supervisor Michelle Steel closing the gap and pulling ahead of their Demoratic opponents in the later rounds of ballot tallies.
In a complete 180-turn from 2018, the Republicans started Election Night down in all the districts.
Steel pulled ahead of freshman Demoratic Rep. Harley Rouda late Tuesday night in the 48th Congressional District race, where the GOP has a six-point party registration advantage.
Rouda pulled off an upset in 2018 when he beat longtime GOP Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.
Steel is looking to end sanctuary cities, wants to reinstate tax deductions for mortgages, is against government-run healthcare and aims to keep protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Rouda, a former Republican and a business owner, wants to reinstate tax deductions for mortgages, lower the cost of prescription drugs and expand health care coverage, according to his campaign website.
The Democratic Congressman criticized Steel’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic leading up the election, while Steel attacked Rouda for allegedly evading taxes and cutting health care from his employees.
And in a repeat of a 2018 battle, Kim is again squaring off against Rep. Gil Cisneros for the 39th Congressional District race.
Kim started off behind freshman Democratic Rep. Gil Cisneros when the first election returns were published, unlike 2018 when Cisneros came from behind and slowly closed the gap and eventually beat Kim.
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.
Kim, a former Assemblywoman, is aiming to support small businesses during the pandemic, lower taxes and lower healthcare costs, according to her campaign website.
In the closely-watched local races for state Legislature, Democrats remain ahead in efforts to flip two seats in OC held by Republicans John Moorlach and Ling Ling Chang. Democrat Josh Newman has been leading narrowly against Chang in the 29th Senate District and Democrat Dave Min has been ahead of Moorlach in the 27th Senate District. Min’s lead expanded slightly with Wednesday’s update.
It continues to be neck and neck for the 68th Assembly District, with Republican incumbent Steven Choi maintaining his lead ahead of Democrat Melissa Fox after Fox was leading in earlier results on election night.
In the western 72nd Assembly District, Democrat Diedre Nguyen was slightly ahead in the first several rounds of results, but the results flipped in the 10:30 p.m. update with Republican incumbent Janet Nguyen pulling ahead with a sizable lead.
In the competitive 1st District county supervisor race, incumbent Republican Andrew Do is maintaining a sizable 5 percentage point lead over his Democrat challenger Sergio Contreras. Do’s lead expanded slightly with the Wednesday results update.
If it holds, Republicans would hold on to their 4-to-1 majority on the board.
In Anaheim, Orange County’s biggest city by population, Disney-backed candidates continued to lead in all three of the City Council seats up for election, with Avelino Valencia, Steve Faessel and Jose Diaz in the lead. One candidate who opposes resort-area subsidies, incumbent Councilwoman Denise Barnes, was ahead earlier on election night but is now trailing Diaz, who was backed by Disney, in the latest rounds of results.
In Santa Ana, where voters picked a new mayor in the first open race for the seat in 26 years, Councilman Vicente Sarmiento continued to hold a wide lead with 33%, and Claudia Alvarez trailing in second place with 22%.
Thai Viet Phan, Jessie Lopez and Johnathan Hernandez continued to hold wide leads for City Council seats in initial results.
In Irvine, Councilwoman Farrah Khan defeated her council colleague Christina Shea in the showdown for mayor, with Khan receiving 49% to Shea’s 35% in early results and Shea conceding in a phone call to Khan.
For City Council, where the top three vote-getters win seats, candidates Tammy Kim, Lauren Johnson-Norris, and Larry Agran continued to hold their leading spots in early results.
The city’s largest developer, The Irvine Co., was the dominant spender in the city’s election, pumping at least $315,000 into groups supporting incumbent Mayor Christina Shea, Councilman Mike Carroll, and John Park, and opposing Agran and Kim.
But voters seem to have turned against developer backed candidates despite their increased funding, without a single candidate moving into winning range since results came out.
In Orange, election results are continuing to show leads for Mark Murphy for mayor and Arianna Barrios, Jon Dumitru, Mike Alvarez, and Ana Gutierrez for City Council seats, while a measure to allow a controversial home development was trailing.
Results, released on Wednesday 5:00 p.m. showed:
Measure AA, which would authorize 128 homes on an old quarry site in the city’s east end, behind with about 37% voting yes and about 63% voting no. Murphy for mayor, with about 59% of the vote to Adrienne Gladson’s 41%. Barrios leading in District 1 with around 41% of the vote, followed by David Vazquez with around 25%. Dumitru leading in District 2 with 42% percent of the vote, followed by Martin Varona with about 23%. Alvarez leading in District 3 with 51% of the vote, followed by John Russo with about 26% percent. Gutierrez leading in District 5 with about 52% of the vote, followed by Rick Ledesma with about 48%.
In Newport Beach, candidates Brad Avery and Noah Blom are still leading the polls in the second day of election results.
In District 2, Avery has won about 60% of the vote so far with candidate Nancy Scarbrough behind with about 40% of the vote.
In District 5, Blom has won about 59% of the vote. Incumbent Jeff Herdman is trailing with about 41% of the vote.
In District 7, current Mayor Will O’Neill ran unopposed.
In Costa Mesa, Mayoral Candidate Katrina Foley is leading in election results with 53% of the vote while candidate Sandra Genis is trailing behind her with 23%.
Democrats have been looking to keep a majority of the council and so far are leading in all but one race in the city.
In District 1, candidate Don Harper is still in the lead with about 43%. Candidate John Stephens is following behind with about 42%.
In District 2, candidate Loren Gameros leads with about 50% of the vote. Candidate Ben Chapman is behind Gameros with about 30% of the vote.
In District 6, election results are indicating a lead for candidate Jeffrey Harlan with about 48% as candidate Jeff Pettis trails with about 20% of the vote.
In Fullerton, the controversial new sales tax Measure S is still nearly 16% behind in returns, leaving the city’s financial future up for debate as the new council comes in to take their seats.
In the city’s 1st District, Fred Jung maintained his lead of several hundred votes over Andrew Cho. Cho has continued closing the gap, but has yet to pull ahead.
In the 2nd District, Nick Dunlap has maintained a double digit lead over any of his nearest competitors, setting the libertarian businessman up to become the next councilman for the district.
In the 4th District, Councilman Bruce Whitaker has held onto his lead of several hundred votes against challenger Aaruni Thakur.
The city of San Clemente also saw council races remaining steady, with incumbent Councilman Gene James and Chris Duncan set to take over four year terms and Steven Knoblock set to take a two year seat left empty after the departure of Mayor Dan Bane.
Voters in the city have also signaled overwhelming approval of new term limits for the city council, with nearly 80% of voters asking for the new two term limit.
Orange County election officials are continuing to count ballots and plan to update the results each day at 5 p.m.
Brandon Pho is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member at Report for America, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @photherecord.
Live Top Race Results
Live election results below thanks to a partnership with the Reynolds Journalism Institute.
CLICK HERE to view live results for EVERY ORANGE COUNTY RACE.