LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two threatened U.S. House Republicans in California triumphed over Democratic challengers on Monday, helping move the GOP into a House takeover seat while a series of congressional races in the state remained in play.
In a fierce battle in Southeast Los Angeles, Republican Rep. Michelle Steel defeated Democrat Jay Chen in a district designed specifically to give Asian Americans, who make up the district’s largest group, a louder voice. at Capitol Hill. It includes the largest Vietnamese community in the country.
East of Los Angeles, Republican Representative Ken Calvert scored a victory over Democrat Will Rollins. With 80% of the votes counted, Calvert, the longest-serving Republican in the California congressional delegation, established a nearly 5,500-vote advantage in the contest.
Ten races in the state remained undecided as the vote count continued, although only a handful were considered close enough to break either way.
It takes 218 seats to control the House. Republicans have locked in 217 seats so far, with Democrats claiming 205.
If Democrats fail to protect their fragile majority, Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield would be in line to replace Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco.
In the 45th District anchored in Orange County, Steel, a South Korean immigrant seeking a second term in Congress, faced off against Chen, a Navy reservist and son of immigrants from Taiwan. The race was being watched nationally for what it says about the preferences of the Asian community.
The candidates initially made inflation and hate crimes against Asian Americans key issues. But the race took a bad turn and mostly focused on accusations and recriminations.
Chen’s ad portrayed Steel as an extremist who would threaten abortion rights, while Republicans accused Chen of “racism” after he told his supporters that an “interpreter” was needed to understand Steel’s remarks, arguing that Chen laughed at his accented English. Chen said he was referring to “convoluted talking points” that he says Steel uses to circumvent issues.
Steel also distributed flyers describing Chen as a communist sympathizer, while Chen said her grandmother fled China to escape the communist regime.
In California, House’s main battlegrounds are Orange County — a suburban swath southeast of Los Angeles that was once a GOP stronghold but has become increasingly diverse and Democratic — and the Valley central, an inland expanse sometimes called the salad bowl of the country for its agricultural production.
The closest remaining competition in the state emerged in the Central Valley, where Democrat Adam Gray took a slim lead after Republican John Duarte took an 84-vote lead in a fight for an open seat in the district. 13.
Underscoring the closeness of the contest, Gray’s campaign formed a committee to begin fundraising to fund a possible recount. This fee, which is paid to county election officials, is the responsibility of the campaign committee or the voter who requested a recount. Generally, these requests can only be made one month after the election.
Latest feedback showed Gray leading by 761 votes, with nearly 80% of the votes tallied.
In Orange County, one of the state’s flagship races tightened when an updated vote tally showed Republican Scott Baugh cut in half a narrow edge held by Democratic Rep. Katie Carry. Porter, a star of the party’s progressive wing, led former lawmaker Baugh by about 2,900 votes – just over a percentage point – with nearly 80% of votes counted.
In another battleground district north of Los Angeles, Republican Rep. Mike Garcia held a comfortable advantage over Democrat Christy Smith in their third straight game, after Garcia won the first two.
The latest returns – with around two-thirds of the votes counted – showed Garcia with 54.4%, compared to Smith’s 45.6%.
In a statement on Twitter, Smith said his chances of grabbing the seat had “diminished significantly” and “it is likely that Garcia will take the seat.”
Democrats also held sizable margins in several districts, including Central Valley 9th, where Democratic Rep. Josh Harder had a nearly 13-point advantage over Republican Tom Patti.
In the Central Valley’s 22nd District, where about half the votes were counted, Republican Rep. David Valadao, who voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump, had a 5-point margin over Democrat Rudy Salas. .
Follow AP coverage of the 2022 midterm elections at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections. And check out https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections to learn more about the midterm issues and factors at play.
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