Zoe Lofgren, a twelve-term incumbent from San Jose, will likely head the House Administration Committee and the subcommittee on immigration, while Anna Eshoo, a 26-year veteran from Palo Alto, seems poised to chair an energy and commerce subcommittee.* Mike Thompson, a 10-term member from St. Helena in Napa Valley, will probably head up the Ways and Means Committee’s subcommittee on health care.
More trouble for Trump could come from the state’s Democratic attorney general, Xavier Becerra, appointed two years ago to fill the vacancy created by the election of Kamala Harris to the Senate. He easily won election to a full term, and seems ready to continue the dozens of lawsuits he has already filed contesting Trump-administration legislative and regulatory policies on issues from climate change to immigration. No Republican has won statewide office here since Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006.
All that is on top of the Democrats’ strong performance in Republican-leaning House districts where the party hoped to make gains, fueled by Trump’s unpopularity here. So far, four Democrats have officially won: Katie Hill, who beat the GOP incumbent Steve Knight in a district in northern Los Angeles County; Mike Levin, who defeated Diane Harkey for an open seat in Orange and San Diego Counties vacated by the retirement of Darrell Issa; Harley Rouda, who beat the 30-year Republican incumbent Dana Rohrabacher in another Orange County district; and Josh Harder, who defeated the Republican incumbent Jeff Denham in the state’s agricultural Central Valley.
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At the same time, two races in which Republicans held the edge on Election Night have tightened dramatically, as mail ballots of younger and late-deciding voters are counted. In an Orange County district, the Democratic challenger Katie Porter has opened a slight, 260-vote lead over the GOP incumbent Mimi Walters. Similarly, in a neighboring district that spans three counties and includes the birthplace of Richard Nixon, Gil Cisneros is trailing the Republican Young Kim, a former aide to the retiring representative Ed Royce, by just over 700 votes, half the margin on Election Night, or 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent.
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Most of these six hotly contested races have been close. Only Levin racked up a comfortable five-point Democratic victory. Meanwhile, in a seventh district that some had thought might be competitive, Representative Duncan Hunter, a Republican incumbent who is under indictment for misusing campaign funds in a district in San Diego and Riverside Counties, easily defeated his half-Latino, half-Arab challenger, Ammar Campa-Najjar, a devout Christian and former Obama White House aide, after running a strident anti-Muslim campaign in the final stretch.