Harley Rouda. Campaign photo

Democrat Harley Rouda declared victory Saturday in his race to unseat veteran Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in the coastal 48th District in Orange County.

Rouda, a real estate investor, had a lead of about 2,600 votes after all precincts were counted in Tuesday’s election, but the official result won’t be known until provisional and mail ballots are counted, a process that is still ongoing.

“Since November 6th, my lead over Dana Rohrabacher has increased with every passing day,” Rouda said in a statement issued Saturday morning. “As of this morning, my campaign is ahead by 7,328 votes. After careful consideration of the data provided by the fantastic team at the Orange County Registrar of Voters, my staff and I are now confident that we have won the Congressional race in California’s 48th District.

“This victory has been powered by voters across the political spectrum, hailing from all corners, and all communities, of the 48th District. I am deeply humbled and honored to have the opportunity to serve in Congress. Going forward, my mission is to be the absolute best kind of public servant – honest, transparent, accessible and tireless in serving the greater good.

“With my campaign now drawn to a close, my work on behalf of the people of Orange County — on behalf of each and every constituent in the 48th District — begins immediately.”

Dale Neugebauer, spokesman for the Rohrabacher re-election campaign, said the congressman isn’t giving up.

“There are still more than 300,000 ballots remaining to count. Our volunteer observers are at the Registrar of voters observing that process. We will have additional comment once the count is complete,” Neugebauer said.

Rouda, who portrays himself as a political moderate, is a former Republican who says he wants to protect health-care coverage and Social Security and Medicare. Rohrabacher, who has been criticized by Democrats for his close relations with Russia, opposed the tax-cut package of President Donald Trump but backs the president’s vocal stances on illegal immigration.

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