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GOP's Steel wins California House race after Democrat Rouda concedes

GOP candidate Michelle Steel will be the new representative for California’s 48th Congressional District after Rep. Harley RoudaHarley Edwin RoudaRepublicans race for distance from 'America First Caucus' California was key factor in House GOP's 2020 success Here are the 17 GOP women newly elected to the House this year MORE (D-Calif.) conceded on Tuesday.

"We did not win this election. And while it isn’t the outcome we had hoped for, it’s never been more important for our leaders to hear the voice of the people, and to accept their judgement. I do," Rouda, who entered office in 2019, said in a statement released one week after Election Day as the race had still not been called by media outlets.

The Associated Press called the race on Tuesday at 2:15 p.m. EST.

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The race between Rouda and Steel, the Republican chairwoman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, was heated heading into the final stretch of the election, with polling from RealClearPolitics indicating the race was a toss-up and the Cook Political Report rating it as "lean Democrat."

Steel helped Republicans win back the seat that had previously been in GOP control for decades. Rouda flipped the seat in 2018 when he defeated former Rep. Dana RohrabacherDana Tyrone RohrabacherOn The Trail: The political losers of 2020 California was key factor in House GOP's 2020 success GOP's Steel wins California House race after Democrat Rouda concedes MORE (R).

One major point of division heading into Election Day was the battle over masks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Steel took to blasting mandates to wear masks in the area and accusing Rouda of politicizing the pandemic in an area where anti-mask sentiment is strong, while Rouda attacked her for promoting a dangerous position amid a global fight against the disease.