It was the best year for Republicans in California in more than a decade.
In May, when Rep. Mike Garcia won a special House election in suburban Los Angeles, it was the first time since 1998 that the GOP had flipped a Democratic-held House seat in the state. It had been even longer, since 1994, that Republicans took out an incumbent House member. Yet in the election this month, they have already done that three times — with Republican Michelle Steel beating Democratic Rep. Harley Rouda in a coastal Orange County district, Republican Young Kim dispatching Rep. Gil Cisneros, and former Rep. David Valadao defeating Democratic Rep. TJ Cox to reclaim his Central Valley seat.
Garcia is currently running ahead of Democrat Christy Smith in a race that remains too close to call.
“The pendulum is swinging back,” said Jim Brulte, a former California Republican Party chair and longtime legislative leader. “For every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. That’s not just physics. It’s also political. And I think you’ve started to see the reaction to total Democrat control in California.”