Several Orange County Republicans in key races Monday cut into some gains Democrats made since Election Day as ballots dropped off at vote centers on Election Day were tallied.
Rep. Katie Porter, D-Irvine, expanded her slim lead over Republican Scott Baugh, a former assemblyman, this weekend, but her advantage in the 47th Congressional District was knocked back to where it was at on Thursday. On Thursday, Porter had a 2,970 lead and after Monday’s batch her lead was back to 2,891.
The good news for Republicans is there are an estimated 51,580 vote-by-mail ballots that were dropped off at vote centers still to count. Those ballots have tended to trend Republican.
The bad news for Republicans is there are still an estimated 7,194 provisional ballots, 90,000 drop-box votes, and 23,078 ballots received after Election Day to still count. Those have tended to trend Democratic.
Porter’s race could be crucial to keep hopes alive among Democrats to hang onto a majority in the House of Representatives.
In another closely contested race, Rep. Mike Levin, D-Dana Point, maintained a 12,796 lead over Republican Brian Maryott in the 49th Congressional District. On Thursday, his lead was 3,713. Levin has a 95,854 to 73,007 lead over Maryott in San Diego County, but is trailing Maryott 49,243 to 39,192 in Orange County.
Rep. Michelle Steel, R-Surfside, defeated Democrat Jay Chen, a retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander, in the 45th Congressional District, 53.8%-46.2%.
“I am humbled to continue to fight for this community in Congress,” Steel tweeted. “Thank you to the voters of #CA45 for putting your trust in me.”
Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minnesota, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House Republicans’ campaign arm, called Steel, “the embodiment of the American dream.”
“I know she’ll continue to work hard for her constituents, so they also have the opportunity to achieve their dreams,” Emmer said.
Steel was born in Seoul, South Korea on June 21, 1955, and came to the United States with her mother and two younger sisters as a young adult.
“After watching my single working mother struggle to fight an unwarranted tax bill from the California State Board of Equalization, I realized that however well-intended, government was failing the people that needed it most,” Steel said. “I knew I needed to serve my community, so I decided to run for public office.”
Steel was elected to the California State Board of Equalization 2006 and re-elected in 2010.
Steel was elected to the Orange County Board of Supervisors in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. As board chair in 2020, she was a frequent critic of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus-related restrictions, including closing beaches in the spring and the “regional stay-at-home order” issued in December.
Orange County voters also cast ballots Tuesday for three of the five seats on the nonpartisan Board of Supervisors. If Supervisor Katrina Foley can hang on to her 3,429-vote lead over Republican state Sen. Patricia Bates, a former supervisor, then Democrats will hold a majority on the board.
Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman Doug Chaffee defeated fellow Democrat Sunny Park, the mayor of Buena Park, 56%-44%, in the 4th District.
Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento has a 607-vote lead over Garden Grove City Councilwoman Kim Bernice Nguyen. He held a 48-vote lead at the conclusion of counting Thursday.