As the number of uncounted election ballots in Orange County wanes, so are the chances of some key race results changing as Democrats and Republicans count their losses and victories up and down several key national, state and local races. 

Roughly 5,400 new ballots were counted as of 5 p.m. Monday, according to the Orange County Registrar of Voters. There are around 28,000 known ballots left to count at this point.

A majority of Orange County voters favored Joe Biden over Donald Trump for the presidency.

Republicans maintained leads in their bid to flip two Democrat-held congressional seats and keep a central county Supervisor’s seat.

Democrats, in turn, were still on track to flip two Republican-held state Senate seats and maintain a majority of Orange County’s state legislative offices. The party also easily held back Republican challenges in several other congressional districts and saw a number of local Democrats elected to school boards across the county.

In Santa Ana, a more progressive majority is on track to take hold. In Anaheim a more resort-friendly coalition has taken form. Irvine voters appeared to turn against developer-backed candidates.

A county registrar worker checks in an observer on Nov. 6, 2020. Credit: JULIE LEOPO, Voice of OC

Orange County voter turnout continues to be on a historic track at 85% as of Saturday.

For a few people in Orange County on Monday, the election wasn’t done. A crowd of people outside the Orange County Registrar of Voters’ office in Santa Ana that afternoon, protesting the national presidential election results which have been called for Biden.

The rally, organized by a host of Trump supporters, was meant to “highlight the #stopthesteal movement…” according to a Facebook post from Alan Hoestetter, a yoga teacher from south county who gained a high profile among local conservatives over his protest of state COVID-19 lockdown orders.

A self-employed Mission Viejo resident Russ Taylor speaking to protestors in attendance during a moment of prayer. Taylor states that gathering was in support of President Donald Trump, for freedom, and to bring people together and inspire. Credit: OMAR SANCHEZ, Voice of OC


Republicans are inching closer to retaking two of the four Congressional seats they lost in 2018, with Republicans Young Kim and Michelle Steel maintaining their slim leads over their Democratic opponents. 

Steel increased her lead over freshman Democratic Rep. Harley Rouda to roughly 7,300 votes, after Saturday night’s ballot tally.

In 2018, Rouda unseated longtime GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. 

As of Monday, Kim maintained a roughly 3,500-vote lead over Democratic Rep. Gil Cisneros in a rematch from their 2018 showdown.

In 2018, Kim started ahead of Cisneros, until he slowly closed the gap and eventually beat her in later rounds of ballot tallies in the days after Election Day.  

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. 

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 last Wednesday. 

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.

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 slightly narrowing the gap in the Monday results update.

In the western 72nd Assembly District, Republican Janet Nguyen held on to hear substantial lead above 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 3 percentage point lead over his Democrat challenger Sergio Contreras.

If it holds, Republicans would hold on to their 4-to-1 majority on the Board of Supervisors.

Observers sit in the registrar warehouse and watch ballots while they are processed on Nov. 6, 2020. Credit: JULIE LEOPO, Voice of OC


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 later 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 defeated 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 the latest results and Shea conceding in a phone call to Khan earlier this week.

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 moved from fourth to second place in Saturday’s update, leaving Larry Agran in third place for a two-year-term seat (due to Khan becoming mayor) and pushing Lauren Johnson-Norris out of the top contenders. 

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 set to pick up a seat. 

Election results on Monday 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 Monday. 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 opponents. Some but not all of the other candidates have already reached out to Foley, Gameros and Harlan to concede.

In District 1, candidate Don Harper who was endorsed by the Republican Party of Orange County is continuing to hold 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 or on Twitter @photherecord.

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