Rouda ahead in latest election results for 48th Congressional District

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Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) speaks to his supporters on election night Nov. 6, 2018. (Photo by Daniel Langhorne)

By Sara Hall and Daniel Langhorne | LB Indy

Early primary election results show the incumbent in the 48th Congressional District, Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach), is ahead of Republican challengers.

As of Wednesday morning, Rouda was 9,121 votes ahead of his top Republican opponent, Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel. Steel has 36.74% of the vote, while Rouda stands at 36.74%. In a distant third in the race for the 48th Congressional District is Republican Brian Burley, who accumulated 12.79% of the votes as Wednesday morning.

The top two vote-getters will be on the November ballot.

“I am proud to have been the most legislatively productive Freshman Member of Congress and to have reached across the aisle to make huge legislative victories,” Rouda wrote in an email to supporters. “And, with the strongest-ever performance by a Democrat in this district tonight, I feel inspired to continue fighting to deliver bipartisan solutions for coastal Orange County.”

At the Republican Party of Orange County event at CP Restaurant in Newport Beach on Tuesday, Steel said officials made calls and walked the district resulting in a big turnout for Republican candidates.

“This is a Republican district, we have to take it back,” Steel said at the event.

She also commented on her Democrat opponent, claiming he’s misled the constituents. She knows “what’s right and what’s wrong,” and will bring “common sense” back to the office, Steel said.

In 2018, Rouda made history when he unseated Republican Dana Rohrabacher, who represented the 48th district for more than 30 years. In the House of Representatives, Rouda currently serves as a member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on Oversight and Reform. He chairs the Subcommittee on Environment.

Supporters of Indivisible OC 48, a self-described non-partisan organization that endorsed Rouda, gathered at Strut Bar & Nightclub in Costa Mesa to watch election results. Rouda legislative staffers said he was in Washington, D.C. for a vote Tuesday.

The mood under the nightclub’s disco balls was tempered early in the night when early results from vote-by-mail ballots had Rouda trailing Steel by 1.6 points. Steel’s lead was erased by 11 p.m.

In 2018, Rouda made history when he unseated Republican Dana Rohrabacher, who represented the 48th district for over 30 years. In the House of Representatives, Rouda currently serves as a member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on Oversight and Reform. He chairs the Subcommittee on Environment.

Reporting for this story was contributed by Victoria Kertz.

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