Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel appeared Monday to take an insurmountable lead over first-term Democratic Rep. Harley Rouda in Orange County’s coastal 48th Congressional District.

Steel leads Rouda, D-Newport Beach, by 7,346 votes, according to figures released Monday by the Orange County Registrar of Voters.

Sources told City News Service it appears Steel has won and there are not enough ballots left to be counted to enable Rouda to catch up.

Steel leads 50.9%-49.1% and 197,256-189,910.

Steel also led 50.9%-49.1% entering Monday’s count, 196,208-189,235, a margin of 6,973.

A second Republican challenger also led a first-term Orange County Democratic House member.

Former Assemblywoman Young Kim leads Rep. Gil Cisneros, D-Yorba Linda, by 3,550 votes, 50.5%-49.5%, in the race to represent the 39th Congressional District, which consists of portions of Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.

Kim has 164,971 votes and Cisneros 161,421.

There are about 28,000 ballots left to count in Orange County, but it is not known how many are from the 39th and 48th Congressional Districts, Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley said.

Mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day can be received as late as Nov. 20 and still be counted under state law.

Both Steel and Kim are seeking to be the first Korean-American women in Congress.

The Cisneros-Kim race is a rematch of 2018, when Cisneros 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 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.

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