Kim Building Lead in 39th Congressional District Race

SANTA ANA (CNS) - Former Assemblywoman Young Kim leads Rep. Gil Cisneros by 4,160 votes today as the Republican Party seeks to recapture a second Orange County seat it lost in 2018.

Kim leads 50.6%-49.4%, in the race to represent the 39th Congressional District, which consists of portions of Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. Kim has 168,485 votes and Cisneros 164,325. Kim added 610 votes to her lead Tuesday, according to figures released by the Secretary of State's Office.

It is not known how many ballots are left to count in the district. Mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day can be received as late as Nov. 20 and still be counted under state law.

The race is a rematch of 2018, when Cisneros, D-Yorba Linda, defeated Kim, 51.6%-48.4%, 126,002-118,391, to succeed Rep. Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, who held the seat from 1993-2019. Kim had been a member of Royce's staff.

Kim, R-La Habra, was leading in the vote count in 2018 and traveled to Washington, D.C., for orientation for newly elected House members, only to be overtaken by Cisneros in late-arriving ballots in 2018.

First-term Democratic Rep. Harley Rouda conceded defeat to Republican Michelle Steel Tuesday in the coastal 48th Congressional District.

With vote-counting continuing from the Nov. 3 election, Steel – the chairwoman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors -- kept expanding her narrow lead, creating a gap that Rouda could not overcome.

Steel declared victory, acknowledging that “Our government is once again divided, but I stand ready to work with both parties to do what's best for the American people, including getting our economy moving again.

“In this election, you weren't simply voting for a person, but also for the idea that the American Dream is alive and well in Orange County. This vote showed that minorities who may look or speak differently than most not only have a place in this Republican Party but can be elected to the United States Congress,'' she added.

Steel vowed to “fight for lower taxes, help our small business and their workers and defeat the coronavirus.''

She said Rouda ran a “spirited campaign, and I thank him for his service.''

As of Tuesday morning, Steel had 50.9% of the vote, with 197,256 votes, compared to Rouda's 189,910 votes, or 49.1%, a difference of 7,346 votes.

By Tuesday evening, Steel's lead increased to 7,792 votes, 199,133-191,341, 51%-49%.

The 48th District has traditionally been a Republican stronghold. Rouda won the seat for the Democratic Party in 2018 when he defeated then-Rep. Dana Rohrabacher with 53.6% of the vote. That election saw Democrats sweep Orange County's congressional seats. Rohrabacher had served in the House since 1989.

Photo: Getty Images

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