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Democrat Katie Porter unseats GOP’s Mimi Walters

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Democrat Katie Porter unseated incumbent Rep. Mimi Walters (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 McCarthy. 

Walters, a former Laguna Niguel mayor and state lawmaker, had aligned herself with the unpopular President Trump 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.

{mosads}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 Clinton 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 Ryan’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 Stivers (R-Ohio).

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Kevin McCarthy Mimi Walters Paul Ryan Steve Stivers
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