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 WaltersSix takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections Former GOP Rep. Walters joins energy company GOP plots comeback in Orange County 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 McCarthyAfter police rip Trump for Jan. 6, McCarthy again blames Pelosi Capitol Police asked to arrest the maskless 228 Republican lawmakers urge Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade MORE

Walters, a former Laguna Niguel mayor and state lawmaker, had aligned herself with the unpopular President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away 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 ClintonClintons, Stacey Abrams meeting Texas Democrats Biden says Russia spreading misinformation ahead of 2022 elections Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote 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 RyanRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Juan Williams: Biden's child tax credit is a game-changer Trump clash ahead: Ron DeSantis positions himself as GOP's future in a direct-mail piece 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 StiversThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Officers recount the horror of Jan. 6 New Mexico Democrat Stansbury sworn into Haaland's old seat MORE (R-Ohio).