Two key Orange County congressional races continue to be tight with Republicans holding an edge, while also maintaining a considerable margin in a hard-fought campaign for a key central county supervisor’s seat.
Democrats maintained an edge in several key state races, seemingly on track to flip two, per the latest round of election results reported Friday afternoon. New results will be posted Saturday at 5 p.m.
These newest vote totals come from a fresh batch of more than 76,000 new ballots counted Friday, and have only strengthened what appears to be a purple trend for this county across its mixed bag of closely-watched national, state and local races.
Meanwhile a clear majority of Orange County residents appeared to remain set on Democratic candidate Joe Biden for president over Republican incumbent, President Donald Trump.
Most of the county’s Democratic congressional members appeared to be well ahead of their Republican challengers going into day two of ballot results.
At the state level, results continued to feature a slight tilt toward Democrats, who are on track to flip two Republican-held state Senate seats. Though 74th District incumbent Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris’ lead over Republican challenger Diane Dixon narrowed with the newest reported results.
Turnout for this year’s election was at a record pace even before the election, with early voting numbers outpacing those of the previous two election years in 2018 and 2016. County elections data reported more than 1.4 million ballots cast as of Friday.
In Santa Ana, a more progressive majority still appeared to take hold. In Anaheim a more resort-friendly coalition continues to take form. Irvine voters appeared to turn against developer-backed candidates.
Republicans could be solidifying their chances to retake two of the four Congressional seats lost in the 2018 elections, with County Supervisor Michelle Steel and Young Kim, a former Assemblywoman, maintaining their leads over their Democratic opponents.
In a complete reversal of 2018 trends, the Republican candidates started behind their Democratic opponents, but eventually pulled ahead by the last ballot tally released on Election Night.
On Friday, Steel increased her lead over freshman Democratic Rep. Harley Rouda to nearly 6,200 votes.
Kim maintained a roughly 3,000 lead over Democratic Rep. Gil Cisneros in a rematch from their 2018 showdown.
In 2018, Kim was ahead of Cisneros until he slowly closed the gap and eventually beat her in later rounds of ballot tallies.
Meanwhile, Democrats managed to keep at least one seat and are on track to keep another.
Rep. Katie Porter defeated Republican Mission Viejo City Councilman Greg Raths after he conceded Wednesday morning.
And Rep. Mike Levin looks on track to beat San Juan Capistrano City Councilman Brian Maryott, a Republican.
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 against Chang in the 29th Senate District and Democrat Dave Min has been ahead of Moorlach in the 27th Senate District. Min’s lead narrowed slightly with Friday’s update.
Republican state Assemblyman Steven Choi held his lead ahead of Democrat Melissa Fox on Thursday, and appeared on track to hold on to his seat.
Democrat Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris held a narrow lead for her 74th District seat against Republican Newport Beach Councilwoman Diane Dixon, with Dixon closing about a quarter of the gap in the Friday results update.
In the western 72nd Assembly District, Republican Janet Nguyen pulled further ahead of Democrat Diedre Nguyen for the seat, which is currently held by Republican Tyler Diep.
In the competitive 1st District county supervisor race, incumbent Republican Andrew Do is maintaining a sizable 4 percentage point lead over his Democrat challenger Sergio Contreras. Do’s lead narrowed slightly with the Friday results update, from 5 percent to 4.
If it holds, Republicans would hold on to their 4-to-1 majority on the Board of Supervisors.
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 has been trailing Diaz in the further 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 Santa Ana City Council seats in the latest results.
In Irvine, Councilwoman Farrah Khan incumbent mayor Christina Shea in the showdown for the city’s top elected position on election night, with Khan receiving 48% to Shea’s 36% in early results and Shea conceding in a phone call to Khan.
For City Council, where the top three vote-getters win seats, Tammy Kim is the only candidate maintaining a steady lead ensuring she will be on the council. Councilman Mike Carroll has continued to pick up votes and is now in fourth place just 56 votes behind Lauren Johnson-Norris, who is just 148 votes behind former mayor Larry Agran.
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 Shea, Carroll and John Park, and opposing Agran and Kim, but Carroll is the only developer backed candidate in winning range.
Four days in and election results for the city of Orange 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.
Newport Beach candidates Brad Avery and Noah Blom in district two and five were still leading the polls on Friday. In District 7, current Mayor Will O’Neill ran unopposed.
In Costa Mesa, Democrats Katrina Foley, Loren Gameros and Jeffrey Harlan are leading their respective races with significant margins over their opponent.
In District 1, candidate Don Harper who was endorsed by the Republican Party of Orange County is holding on to a lead with incumbent John Stephens following closely behind.
Brandon Pho is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member at Report for America, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter @photherecord.