Former California Assemblywoman Young Kim defeated Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-Calif.) in a rematch of the 2018 election, flipping back a second House seat in California for the Republicans this year.
In a video, Kim thanked supporters and said that, with the election over, she hopes “we can unite and move forward to address the issues that our nation faces.”
“As an immigrant ... I know that the promise of America is alive,” she said.
Kim, who was born in South Korea and grew up in Guam, is one of three Korean American women to be elected to Congress for the first time. Marilyn Strickland won the open 10th Congressional District southwest of Seattle, while Michelle Steel beat an incumbent Democrat in California.
In a statement, Cisneros congratulated Kim and said he would take time to consider his future.
“I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me,” he said.
The Associated Press projected Kim as the winner on Nov. 13; she led Cisneros by just over 1 percent with 99 percent of the districts reporting.
The Democrats captured seven Republican seats in California in 2018. The GOP set out to reclaim at least some of those in 2020.
In addition to the victories by Steel and Kim, two other GOP candidates are leading in their races. In the Central Valley’s 21st District, former Rep. David Valadao was ahead of Rep. TJ Cox (D-Calif.). In the 25th District, north of Los Angeles, Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.) was leading by about 100 votes in the race against Christy Smith.
Republicans also held the open 50th District seat anchored in San Diego County, which former U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa will represent after winning his comeback bid two years after not seeking reelection in a neighboring district that had become more Democratic. The 50th District has a nearly 10-point GOP registration edge. The seat was vacated earlier this year by Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter, who pleaded guilty to a federal corruption charge.
The wins by Kim and Steel mark a surprising turnaround in a state where Democrats hold every statewide office, have commanding majorities in the legislature and congressional delegation, and a nearly two-to-one advantage over Republicans in registered voters.
Kim, 58, overcame a Democratic registration edge in the district, which also includes slices of Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.
“The Orange County comeback is here,” Fred Whitaker, chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County, said in a statement.