Democrats may lose 3 California seats they flipped in 2018

I wrote about one of these seats Friday because the person who eventually wins will be my representative in Congress. But yesterday the NY Times pointed out that Democrats are actually in danger of losing three seats in California that they managed to flip in 2018. The margins in these races are still razor thin but it looks like a good bet that at least two of the three are about to flip back to the GOP:


Three Democrats who flipped GOP-held seats in the blue wave, Reps. Gil Cisneros and Harley Rouda of Orange County and TJ Cox of Fresno, were all behind on election day and have seen the gap grow, not shrink, since then. Another Democrat in a closely watched race, Assembly member Christy Smith of Santa Clarita (Los Angeles County), held an election night lead, only to quickly lose it to GOP Rep. Mike Garcia.

All the races remain close with tens of thousands of ballots still uncounted. Garcia, for example, held only a 432-vote edge over Smith on Sunday…

“We’re encouraged by the early results, but we know there are a lot of votes yet to be counted,” said Andrew Renteria, a spokesperson for former GOP Rep. David Valadao of Hanford (Kings County), who had a 4,500-vote lead over Cox on Sunday.

In 2018, Cox took Valadao’s seat by 862 votes in a race that wasn’t decided until nearly a month after election day. But this year, instead of a steady flow of Democrat-favoring numbers, Valadao has seen his lead grow by more than 1,500 votes since Thursday…

Cox’s team pointed to Kern County, where they said more than 25,000 ballots in the race remained uncounted on Saturday. But Kern County, like Tulare and Kings counties, backed Trump on election day. Of the four counties in Cox’s 21st congressional district, Biden won only Fresno County.


As of the moment I’m writing this, Republican Valadao is leading TJ Cox by 4,570 votes with 83% of the vote in. If the remainder of the vote is largely in Kern County then Valadao is probably going to increase his lead a bit before this is over.

Also in trouble this year is Democrat Harley Rouda. With 98% of the vote reported, Republican Michelle Steel leads by 6,973 votes. That’s about double the lead she held last week.

That pattern, where Republican votes filter in later, has been repeated across the country this year because Democrats pushed their voters to vote early while Republicans were far more likely to vote on election day.

The third close race where Republicans might steal a seat back from Democrats is in California’s 39th district. Republican Young Kim is leading Democrat Gil Cisneros by 3,095 votes with 98 percent reporting. However, the Times points out that in this case the outstanding votes probably come from LA County:

While 60% of the district’s voters are in Orange County, where the count was nearly complete, there were still plenty of uncounted ballots in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.

Finally, the race mentioned above in California’s 25th district pits Republican Mike Garcia is currently leading Democrat Christy Smith. Garcia is currently leading by 432 votes with 94% of the vote recorded but in this case, that margin could shrink:


The more than 600,000 ballots left to count in all of Los Angeles County, which has 82% of the district’s voters, has Democrats thinking Smith can overtake Garcia and flip that seat from the Republicans.

If Republicans win all 4 seats they would have a +8 gain this year, though if they lose in CA-25 that would bring it back to +7. Whatever the case, it’s far better than the +10-12 gain for Democrats that was anticipated this year.

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