Historically Republican Orange County Proving to Be Tough Battleground for Congressional Races

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Congressional candidate Harley Rouda (CA-48), speaks with supporters at a Latinx campaign canvass launch on Nov. 1, 2018, in Costa Mesa. (Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Democratic Congressional candidate Harley Rouda (CA-48), speaks with supporters at a Latinx campaign canvass launch on Nov. 1, 2018, in Costa Mesa. (Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

By bus, by freeway or on foot, candidates dashed across California on Saturday in a frantic rush to secure votes, knocking on doors, pleading with voters by phone and urging volunteers at crowded rallies not to slow down.

In the closely fought 39th Congressional District southeast of Los Angeles, Republican candidate Young Kim was joined by the GOP nominee for governor, John Cox, who pulled up to her campaign office in a lime-green bus splashed with the slogan, “Help is on the way.”

Kim urged a crowd of cheering supporters waving signs to get to the polls or mail in a ballot as soon as possible, warning them, “It could be your vote” that makes a difference on Election Day.

“It’s all going to come down to a few votes,” she said.

She also urged support for Cox, who has been trailing Democrat Gavin Newsom in polls and fundraising in the strongly Democratic state.

“Can you imagine Gavin Newsom being our governor?” she asked, eliciting loud boos and shouts from the crowd with the mention of the Democratic candidate.

Cox said residents are suffering from too many taxes, on fuel, on food.

“This campaign is about saving the state of California,” he said. “They want this state to be affordable. They want this state to be liveable. And that’s what’s going to happen when I’m governor.”

The candidates later urged on a battery of telephone volunteers in Kim’s office. “Help is on the way,” they cheered.

Kim’s district, where long-serving Republican Rep. Ed Royce is retiring, is one of a string of GOP-held seats that Democrats want to capture as part of the party’s strategy to retake control of the U.S. House. Four of those seats are completely or partly in Orange County, a one-time GOP stronghold, including Kim’s district.

Later in the day, Newsom was scheduled to join U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris and comedian Chelsea Handler at an event for Democrat Katie Porter in the 45th District, also in Orange County.

Democrats hope to claim 23 seats nationwide to retake the House.

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