Orange County backed Biden, but Republicans poised for dramatic comeback after ‘blue wave’

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Like many conservative voters in Orange County, Carolyn Ehret, a longtime Republican in Laguna Niguel, could not stomach voting for Donald Trump a second time. So she split her ticket to support Joe Biden and her district’s Republican congressional candidate, Michelle Steel.

“Trump’s just gutted me, he’s not a good example for any of us,” said Ehret. “We need to become civilized again.”

Her vote reflects a lot about where Orange County, once a bastion of right-wing conservatism, stands politically these days, teetering between red and blue. Biden appears headed to victory, and so does Steel.

Democrats have made inroads over the last 30 years and now have a 3.5% advantage in voter registration that is likely to continue to grow. But the GOP is still a potent force in Orange County, with Republicans running the county power structure, thus controlling key entry points into politics.

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