Democrat Katie Porter Takes Lead Over Incumbent GOP Rep. Mimi Walters as 2 House Races in O.C. Battleground Remain Too Close to Call

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Democrat Katie Porter took a slim lead over incumbent Republican Rep. Mimi Walters on Tuesday in the race to represent the Irvine area in Congress as mail-in ballots continue to be counted following last week’s midterm election.

The progressive Democrat had a 261-vote lead on Walters, who has held the seat for California’s 45th Congressional District since 2014. The district includes Tustin, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Laguna Hills, Lake Forest and Mission Viejo.

Porter, with 116,732 votes, had a 0.2 percent margin over the incumbent, who had 116,471 votes.

That means Democrats now lead in six out of nine uncalled House races.

During her last election in 2016, Walters, a former investment banker, won by 17 percentage points. But that same year, the district went for Hillary Clinton by more than 5 points after previously electing Mitt Romney by 12 points in 2012.

In the last four years, Republicans’ registration advantage in the district has fallen 8 percentage points as it’s seen an influx of Asian-American and Latino voters.

Porter, a professor and consumer protection lawyer, studied under Sen. Elizabeth Warren at Harvard Law School and has been seen as a protégé of the Massachusetts senator.

And in California’s 39th Congressional District, where a seat opened up after long-serving GOP Rep. Ed Royce announced his retirement, Democrat Gil Cisneros is catching up to Republican Young Kim, who had a healthy lead on election night.

The demographically diverse district encompasses parts of inland Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties including Fullerton, Yorba Linda, Rowland Heights, Chino Hills and Diamond Bar.

On election night, Kim was ahead by nearly 4,000. But on Tuesday, she led by only 711.

Cisneros remains down by about 0.4 points, but Democrats across the state have seen their vote tallies rise as mail-in ballots continue to be counted.

Correction: A previous version of this story erroneously gave the wrong name to Cisneros’ opponent.

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