Republican wins back US House seat in Orange County

Republican Michelle Steel has defeated first-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Harley Rouda in an Orange County district.
Republican Michelle Steel has defeated first-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Harley Rouda in a Southern California district.

It's a big victory Tuesday for the beleaguered California GOP after losing the seat in coastal Orange County's 48th Congressional District in 2018.

It's only the second time in over two decades that a Republican captured a Democratic-held congressional district in the state.

And it comes two years after Republicans lost seven House seats to the Democrats.

Rouda won the seat in a 2018 upset over then-Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher who served for decades in the longtime Republican district.

Steel, who heads the county board of supervisors, joins Washington state's Marilyn Strickland as the first Korean American women elected to Congress. Strickland, a Democrat, won her race last week in a district southwest of Seattle.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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