Republicans Flip 9th Congressional Seat As California Democrat Harley Rouda Concedes
House Republicans gained another seat in Congress when Democratic incumbent Harley Rouda conceded to Republican challenger, Michelle Steel, in a closely watched election in California’s 48th District.
Steel’s victory will be the ninth seat flipped by House Republicans in this election cycle, although Democrats still hold the majority of House seats at 215 versus 201.
By the time first-term Rep. Rouda conceded on Tuesday, Steel held a two-point lead against him with 95% of precincts reporting, according to predictions by Fox News Desk who earlier called the race for the Republican candidate.
The incumbent Democratic lawmaker said it was an “honor of a lifetime” for him to serve in Congress as the first Democrat to ever represent the traditionally red district.
Thanks to the incredible energy brought by our thousands of grassroots volunteers, I was proud to be the first Democrat ever to represent #CA48.
Serving the people here has been the honor of my life. https://t.co/up1YVZTnuU
— Harley Rouda (@HarleyRouda) November 10, 2020
“Thanks to the incredible energy brought by our thousands of grassroots volunteers, I was proud to be the first Democrat ever to represent #CA48. Serving the people here has been the honor of my life,” Rep. Rouda said.
He noted, however, that his decision to “work with Republicans” rather than “demonizing” them could have cost his election.
“It’s because we worked with Republicans instead of demonizing them and refused to give in to partisan politics. I thought that was the right thing to do. I still feel that way,” the first-term lawmaker, who captured the Orange County’s 48th District in 2018 said.
“We did not win this election. And while it isn’t the outcome we had hoped for, it’s never been more important for our leaders to hear the voice of the people, and to accept their judgment,” he added.
Meanwhile, Steel declared victory after Rouda conceded.
Born in South Korea, raised in Japan before immigrating to the US, Steel — who will join Washington state’s Marilyn Strickland as the first Korean American woman elected to Congress — said this year’s vote showed that that “American dream is alive and well in Orange County.”
This victory has been hard-fought and hard-won, and I could not be more humbled to have your support nor more honored to serve our community in Congress. Now, let's get to work. #CA48 pic.twitter.com/5aVvsvABiw
— Michelle Steel (@MichelleSteelCA) November 10, 2020
“This victory has been hard-fought and hard-won, and I could not be more humbled to have your support nor more honored to serve our community in Congress,” Steel said.
The Republican lawmaker-elect listed lowering taxes, improving the state’s coronavirus response, securing the country’s borders and giving Americans better access to affordable health care as among her priorities as she heads to Washington.
“In Congress, I will fight to lower taxes and allow Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money, especially during these uncertain times,” her campaign website wrote.
“I will continue the fight to slow the spread of COVID-19, protect Orange County residents, and increase hospital resources. I will also work to fix our broken healthcare system to cover those with pre-existing conditions, lower prescription drug prices, and ensure Americans have access to quality, affordable healthcare,” it added.
She said in a statement that she is “ready to work with both parties.”
Meanwhile, Steel’s victory will add her to the record number of Republican women elected to the House this year — surpassing an earlier record of 25 Republican women elected to the US House of Representatives.
In total, Americans are sending at least 135 women in Washington this election.
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