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While Democrats nationwide celebrate Joe Biden’s win over Republican incumbent President Donald Trump, both parties in Orange County are on track to secure their own victories across congressional, state and local races.
The latest vote count updates as of 5 p.m. on Saturday from the Orange County Registrar of Voters include nearly 62,000 new ballots. With the latest update, election officials have now counted about 90% of the total known ballots that were left to be tallied after election night.
After Saturday’s update, there are only 33,000 ballots left to count plus any that arrive in the mail in the next 10 days, which is expected to be a small number.
Orange County residents turned out to vote in this election like never before, on track to be historic at 84% as of Saturday.
Republicans remained close to flipping two key Democrat-held congressional seats — the coastal 48th Congressional District, which is still tight, and the inland 39th Congressional District — while Democrats seemed on track to hold onto the majority of the county’s delegation in Congress.
Democrats were on their way to maintaining a majority of state Assembly and Senate seats, flipping two Republican-held state senate seats.
Republican incumbent County Supervisor Andrew Do still looks on track to beat back a Democratic party challenge in the form of Westminster City Councilman Sergio Contreras.
A majority of Orange County voters favored Biden over Trump for the presidency.
Republicans could be inching closer to retaking two of their four Congressional seats lost in the 2018 elections, with County Supervisor Michelle Steel and Young Kim, a former Assemblywoman, maintaining small leads over their Democratic opponents after Saturday night’s updated ballot tally.
Steel maintained a roughly 7,000-vote lead lead over Democratic freshman Rep. Harley Rouda in the 48th Congressional district.
And Kim maintained a roughly 4,000-vote lead over Democratic Rep. Gil Cisneros in a rematch from their 2018 showdown for the 39th Congressional District race, which spans OC, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties.
San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties didn’t update their ballot tallies Saturday night.
In 2018, Kim was ahead of Cisneros until he slowly closed the gap and eventually beat her in later rounds of ballot tallies.
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 in the 45th Congressional District 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 49th Congressional District.
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 Saturday’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 slightly narrowing the gap in the Saturday results update.
In the western 72nd Assembly District, Republican Janet Nguyen held on to hear 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. Do’s lead has slightly narrowed with each results update, from 5 percentage points in Thursday’s update to 4 points in Friday’s to 3 points in Saturday’s.
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 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.
Five 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 Saturday. 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 continuing to hold on to a lead with incumbent John Stephens following closely behind.