Philanthropist Gil Cisneros has defeated Republican Young Kim to represent the 39th Congressional District, completing a sweep by Democrats who have won all four Republican-held Orange County congressional seats.
As of Saturday, Cisneros’ lead had widened to 3,495 votes, up from a 3,020 vote lead on Friday. Kim, a former California assembly member, was ahead by nearly 4,000 votes on Election Day and stayed in the lead until the results were updated Thursday.
Cisneros’ win completes a four-seat rout that also saw veteran Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach, ousted by businessman Harley Rouda in the 48th District; Rep. Mimi Walters, R-Irvine, defeated by Democrat Katie Porter in the 45th District; and Democrat Mike Levin top Republican Diane Harkey to replace retiring Congressman Darrell Issa, R-Vista in the 49th District.
Orange County, where Richard Nixon was born and the place where Ronald Reagan launched his political career, has long been considered a Republican stronghold. But as of January, all seven Orange County congressional seats will be held by Democrats.
Former Republican Cisneros, a Navy veteran who won a $266 million Lottery jackpot in 2010 and now runs an education foundation with his wife, Jacki, will replace retiring 13-term GOP Congressan Ed Royce.
“This evening, I called Gil Cisneros to congratulate him and offer him my best wishes in Congress,” Kim said in a statement posted Saturday on her Twitter feed. “Both sides worked hard in this campaign, but now it’s time to come together and find solutions and opportunities that move our community and country forward.”
Cisneros also took to Twitter where he acknowledged Kim’s phone call and good wishes.
“I want to congratulate her on a hard fought race and I thank her for her public service,” he wrote. “I pledge to represent everyone in #CA39, both those that voted for me and those that didn’t. I will be our district’s voice in Washington.”
In a later statement, Cisneros urged his and Kim’s supporters and others to put aside divisive politics and work together toward common goals.
“This campaign taught me so much,” he said in a prepared statement. “In one of the most diverse districts in the country, I learned that for all of our differences, we all care about the same things. We want our kids to feel safe at school, good jobs that allow us to provide for our families, affordable healthcare that ensures our loved ones receive the life-saving care they need, and a clean environment for our children and grandchildren. Most of all, we want to live in a world brought together by hope, not divided by hate.”