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Steel Flips Orange County Congressional District Back To Red

Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel has defeated incumbent Congressman Harley Rouda in California's 48th district. (Courtesy of the Steel campaign)
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Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel has defeated Democratic incumbent Harley Rouda, who conceded Tuesday in the 48th Congressional District race.

With Steel's victory, Republicans have reclaimed a seat they lost as part of the blue wave in the 2018 midterm elections, when Rouda unseated Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

"We did not win this election," Rouda wrote in a statement on his campaign website. "And while it isn’t the outcome we had hoped for, it’s never been more important for our leaders to hear the voice of the people, and to accept their judgment. I do."

The 48th district is more than half white, but its Asian and Latino populations are growing. Registered Republicans also outnumber Democrats in the district.

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As a supervisor, Steel, who is a Korean immigrant, helped to lead the county through the pandemic and has emphasized the needs of small businesses and her district's large Asian American community. Both candidates heavily courted the district's Vietnamese-American voters.

“To the voters of Orange County, thank you for entrusting me to be your representative in Congress," Steel said in a statement. "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."


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