Single point divides Orange County congressional contenders

BUENA PARK, Calif. (KABC) -- It's a squeaker of a race. A single point in the polls separates Democrat Gil Cisneros from Republican Young Kim in the 39th congressional district.

Kim barnstormed Orange County in a bus over the weekend with Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox.

"We are going to bring some common sense back into governing," Kim told supporters.

On Monday in Buena Park, Cisneros rallied campaign workers to focus on issues.

"Talking about health care, talking about immigration reform, common sense gun legislation," he said.

National leaders have placed a bulls-eye on this district as one of 23 congressional seats that could tilt power to the Democrats.

For the first time in the district, two minorities are facing off.

Cisneros is a Hispanic Navy veteran with an MBA who started an education foundation with $246 million dollars he won in the lottery. He moved into the district from Newport Beach last year to be eligible to run.

Kim has lived in the district for 20 years. She is a Korean immigrant, a former assemblywoman and aide to the retiring Republican congressman Ed Royce. The district spans northern Orange County, eastern San Bernardino County and part of Los Angeles County.

Today, half of all voters are minority with the numbers split almost evenly between Latinos and Asian-Americans. The numbers have created a historic shift in voter registration.

"In this 39th just barely, there are more Democrats now registered in the 39th than there are Republicans," said Cisneros, noting that the breakthrough point happened last week.

"It all comes down to few votes. It could be your vote. It could be your vote, so don't sit back and do nothing," Kim told supporters.

Kim has multilingual volunteers on phone banks appealing to the local President Donald Trump base.

The Cisneros camp also has a diverse staff making calls. With the pressure on, the Democrat claims a bare 1-percent lead in the polls.

Still, both candidates are mindful that on Tuesday, the numbers could go either way.
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