Democratic challenger Harley Rouda and 15-term incumbent Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher were locked in a tight race for California’s 48th district late Tuesday night.
Democrats took the House of Representatives, gaining at least 23 seats before the polls closed in California.
As crowds of Rouda supporters gathered at the Marriott Hotel. “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival played over the speakers as about 300 supporters watched CNN’s live results on two large projectors.
Rohrabacher hopefuls met at a Costa Mesa bar to cheer for their candidate.
Rohrabacher has represented Orange County’s coastline, including Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and parts of Costa Mesa, Santa Ana and Garden Grove, for the past 29 years, becoming known on a national level for his staunch support for President Donald Trump and his leadership in the Foreign Affairs subcommittee that oversees policy on Russia. He is also one of few Republicans who supports marijuana decriminalization.
Rouda, a real estate executive and former registered Republican, beat out a crowded field of Democratic candidates in the June primary.
During his campaign, Rouda focused on healthcare issues, include expanding the Affordable Care Act and ending the opioid crisis through regulation of painkiller prescriptions. He also showed support for a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage, free tuition for public colleges and reform for the nation’s gun laws.
Immigration was another central issue of the campaign.
Rohrabacher has co-sponsored bills to end birthright citizenship and declare English as the official language. He also authored a bill to ensure that undocumented immigrants do not receive Social Security — even if they paid into the program — and another that would fund the border security proposed by Trump.
Rouda has criticized Rohrabacher for these positions, saying he favors the 2013 bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill that would have given undocumented residents a path to citizenship. He has also spoken out against the separation of families at the border.
The race was one of about 30 Congressional races nationwide designated as a “toss-up” by the Cook Political Report.
Polling showed the two candidates tied throughout the fall and the race was essentially neck and neck late into the night.