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Will 'Reagan Country' Elect All Democrats to Its Three House Seats?

Will 'Reagan Country' Elect All Democrats to Its Three House Seats?
(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

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Saturday, 17 November 2018 10:17 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Orange County, California, has long been considered the bulwark of conservatism. In the 1960s, it drew political attention nationwide for hosting crowded meetings of the John Birch Society and overflow rallies for the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade. The late GOP County Chairman Tom Fuentes proudly dubbed Orange County "Reagan Country" for the big margins it gave the 40th president in his bids for governor of the Golden State and later the White House.

All of that seemed ancient history on Friday, as two of the three U.S. House districts in Orange County had deposed their Republican members and elected Democrats. The results were still outstanding in the 39th District, but as of Friday evening, Democrat Gil Cisneros maintained a 3,020-vote lead over the long-presumed favorite, Republican former Assemblywoman Young Kim. Kim, who was strongly backed by retiring Republican Rep. Ed Royce, had been positioned to become the first Korean-American woman in Congress until her lead in the vote count evaporated on Thursday.

In the 45th District, Democrat Katie Porter, University of Southern California (Irvine) law professor and protege of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was declared the winner on Thursday. Porter upset two-term Rep. Mimi Walters, considered one of the brightest Republican stars in the House and a favorite to become chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee until the vote-counting turned against her.

In the 48th District, businessman and attorney Harley Rouda unseated 30-year Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher by a margin of 51 to 49 percent. Rouda, who switched his Republican registration to Democratic in 1997,  hit particularly hard at Rohrabacher's repeated defense of Vladimir Putin as an example of what he called the incumbent's "quirkiness and outlandishness."

While Rohrabacher's defeat could be attributed to unique circumstances, that Democrats were able to "run the board" and — barring an upset by Kim — win all three seats frm Orange County indicated a significant political shift. The decline of the defense industry in Southern California after the end of the Cold War, coupled with the "dotcom" boom, led to tens of thousands of different kinds of workers settling in Orange County. In addition, the increase in minorities living in the county has no doubt helped the Democratic Party. 

If all three seats wind up in the Democratic column, the Los Angeles Times pointed out, it will be the first time since the Great Depression that Orange County did not have a Republican in Congress. 

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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John-Gizzi
Orange County, California, has long been considered the bulwark of conservatism. All of that seemed ancient history on Friday, as two of the three U.S. House districts in Orange County had deposed their Republican members and elected Democrats.
reagan, country, elect, democrats, house
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2018-17-17
Saturday, 17 November 2018 10:17 AM
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