Republicans flipped their ninth House seat Tuesday after Rep. Harley Rouda, D-Calif., conceded to Republican challenger Michelle Steel in a closely contested race to represent the state’s 48th District.

Steel held a nearly two-point lead over the freshman congressman on Tuesday with 95% of precincts reporting in the traditionally red district, according to the Fox News Decision Desk, which has called the race for Steel.

“Thanks to the incredible energy brought by our thousands of grassroots volunteers, I was proud to be the first Democrat ever to represent California’s 48th Congressional District. Serving the people here has been the honor of my life, but the truth is, it’s never been about political parties for me,” Rouda wrote in a Tuesday statement.

Rouda went on to list several of his accomplishments in Congress, including his efforts to improve the Payment Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic and to help pass a law to stop taxpayer dollars from going to China.

“It’s because we worked with Republicans instead of demonizing them and refused to give in to partisan politics. I thought that was the right thing to do. I still feel that way,” Rouda said. “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 judgment.”

Steel, who was born in South Korea before immigrating to the U.S., declared victory on Tuesday after Rouda conceded.

“This victory has been hard-fought and hard-won, and I could not be more humbled to have your support nor more honored to serve our community in Congress,” she said in a tweet. “Now, let’s get to work.”

Steel aims to lower taxes, improve the state’s coronavirus response, secure the country’s borders and give Americans better access to affordable health care, among other goals listed on her website.

Steel served on the California State Board of Equalization and currently serves as chairwoman on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, on which she helped return more than $400 million to California taxpayers, according to her website.

“In Congress, I will fight to lower taxes and allow Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money, especially during these uncertain times,” her website states. “I will continue the fight to slow the spread of COVID-19, protect Orange County residents, and increase hospital resources. I will also work to fix our broken healthcare system to cover those with pre-existing conditions, lower prescription drug prices, and ensure Americans have access to quality, affordable healthcare.”

Democrats currently hold 215 seats in the House while Republicans hold 201.

Author: Audrey Conklin

Source: Fox News: Republicans flip 9th seat as California Democratic Rep. Harley Rouda concedes

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