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 Rouda (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.
Thanks to the incredible energy brought by our thousands of grassroots volunteers, I was proud to be the first Democrat ever to represent #CA48.
Serving the people here has been the honor of my life. https://t.co/up1YVZTnuU
— Harley Rouda (@HarleyRouda) November 10, 2020
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 Rohrabacher (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.