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California Democratic Rep. Porter re-elected after tough race

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Democratic Representative Katie Porter was re-elected Thursday after a blood-curdling campaign in Southern California, where she spent more than $24 million defending her seat in a closely divided coastal district.

With nearly all votes counted, Porter defeated Republican Scott Baugh, a former lawmaker, by 51.6% to 48.4%, or a margin of about 8,200 votes.

On Wednesday, Republicans retook control of the House. With Porter’s victory, Republicans will have 218 seats next year, Democrats 212. The count is still pending in a handful of other undecided races.

Porter ran in a significantly redrawn district that included her hometown of Irvine, but also many voters who didn’t know her. The campaign presented a stark choice.

Porter, a star of the party’s progressive wing known for grilling CEOs at Capitol Hill hearings, anchored her campaign to protect abortion rights and expand access to health care while continuing her work as a consumer advocate. spotlight, including fighting high credit card fees. She argued that oil companies kept supply low in order to make record profits.

Conservative Baugh, a former head of the county GOP, blamed Congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden for inflation, rising gas prices and hefty taxes that cut household budgets.

Both candidates portrayed each other as extremists.

Porter’s victory was another sign of the changing political complexion of Orange County, a place once known as “Reagan country” for its ties to former Republican President Ronald Reagan and conservative politics.

Once largely white and Republican, the county of more than 3 million residents has become demographically diverse and increasingly Democratic. Biden won Porter’s district by double digits in the 2020 presidential election.

The win, though narrow, is unlikely to discourage talk about Porter’s political future — she’s often mentioned as a potential candidate for the U.S. Senate.

The most exciting remaining game in the state is set in the Central Valley, where Republican John Duarte took a narrow lead over Democrat Adam Gray in District 13, an open seat. The latest results showed Duarte leading by just under 1,000 votes, with about 90% of the ballots tabulated.

Another inconclusive game was in the state’s sprawling 3rd Congressional District, which runs from Sacramento’s suburbs along the state’s inner ridge. Republican Kevin Kiley, a state delegate, led Democrat Kermit Jones, a physician and Navy veteran.

In the Central Valley’s 22nd district, where about two-thirds of the vote has been counted, Republican Rep. David Valadao, who voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump, had a 5.6-point margin over Democrat Rudy Salas. or about 4,000 votes. .

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Follow the AP’s coverage of the 2022 midterm elections at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections. And check out https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections for more information on the issues and factors at play during the midterm elections.

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