Democrat Katie Porter unseats GOP's Mimi Walters

Democrat Katie Porter unseats GOP's Mimi Walters
© Getty Images

Democrat Katie Porter unseated incumbent Rep. Mimi WaltersMarian (Mimi) Elaine WaltersCrazy California an outlier? No, we are the canary in the coal mine Ryan casts doubt on 'bizarre' California election results Election Countdown: Abrams ends fight in Georgia governor's race | Latest on Florida recount | Booker, Harris head to campaign in Mississippi Senate runoff | Why the tax law failed to save the GOP majority MORE (R-Calif.), marking the first time Democrats have won the inland Orange County district since its creation in 1983. 

The Associated Press called the race on Thursday, nine days after Election Day. Porter's victory represented the fifth GOP seat that Democrats flipped in the 2018 midterms, an devastating blow to the new Republican leader, California Rep. Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthySteve King spins GOP punishment into political weapon Steve King asks for Congressional Record correction over white supremacist quote Steve King urges supporters to pray for his committee assignments to be restored: report MORE

Walters, a former Laguna Niguel mayor and state lawmaker, had aligned herself with the unpopular President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff urges GOP colleagues to share private concerns about Trump publicly US-China trade talks draw criticism for lack of women in pictures Overnight Defense: Trump to leave 200 troops in Syria | Trump, Kim plan one-on-one meeting | Pentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for border wall MORE this past election cycle. She was one of a handful of vulnerable Republicans who voted for and defended both Trump’s Obamacare repeal bill and his tax cuts law.

ADVERTISEMENT

Porter, a consumer-protection attorney, seized on Walters’s unapologetic support of the Trump agenda, running ads that said her GOP opponent voted with the president 98 percent of the time. 

That strategy appeared to work in a district that has become bluer and more diverse in recent years as Hispanic and Asian populations continue to grow in Orange County. Although Republicans have a slight voter-registration advantage in California’s 45th district, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillicon Valley: Trump pushes to speed up 5G rollout | Judge hits Roger Stone with full gag order | Google ends forced arbitration | Advertisers leave YouTube after report on pedophile ring 4 ways Hillary looms over the 2020 race Hillary Clinton met with Biden, Klobuchar to talk 2020: report MORE beat then-candidate Donald Trump there by 5 percentage points in 2016.

Walters’s defeat puts an end to her leadership ambitions. The two-term lawmaker had served as the freshman and sophomore class’s liaison to Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanFive takeaways from McCabe’s allegations against Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race McCabe: No one in 'Gang of Eight' objected to FBI probe into Trump MORE’s (R) leadership team. She’s also a deputy chairwoman at the National Congressional Campaign Committee, the GOP’s campaign arm, and was seen as a possible successor to current NRCC Chairman Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversNew push to open banks to marijuana industry Steve King asks for Congressional Record correction over white supremacist quote Rep. Steve King pushes GOP to reinstate his committee assignments MORE (R-Ohio).