Rep. Katie Porter, challenger Scott Baugh remains in a close race for CA-47 – Orange County Register

Rep. Katie Porter went from political loser to first political winner in 2018 when the ballots were counted in the days after the polls closed in this year’s midterm elections and she conquered California’s 45th congressional district ahead of then-incumbent Rep. Mimi Walters.

It’s possible that the opposite could happen this week. Or not. The latest vote count for the 2022 halftime shows only one sure thing: The race for the 47th congressional district between Porter, D-Irvine and Republican challenger Scott Baugh is a back-and-forth battle that could take days to resolve.

Consider how the vote has shifted over the course of about 24 hours:

In the first batch of ballots, counted and released minutes after the end of the voting period on the evening of November 8, Porter had a clear – if not overwhelming – lead over Baugh. But in a second tally released later that night, that lead virtually disappeared, with Porter leading by just six-tenths of a percentage point.

In the latest vote count released by the Orange County Electoral Roll on Wednesday, November 9, Porter’s lead over Baugh has increased slightly to about 1 percentage point.

It is unclear what pattern, if any, will emerge as more votes are counted.

County data shows nearly 629,000 ballots were cast and about 404,000 more are yet to be counted, although only a fraction of both numbers apply to the Porter-Baugh race. The county’s data also shows that the remaining votes include a mix of absentee ballots received in the mail before Election Day, ballots left in mailboxes, and other ballots dropped at polling centers before or on Election Day.

In the most recent election, voting in person favored GOP candidates and voting by mail favored Democrats. But some recent events — the state’s decision to send absentee ballots to every voter; the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; former President Donald Trump’s push in 2020 to encourage his supporters to vote in-person; the rain that hit Southern California on Tuesday, November 8th – may have erased all previous patterns.

Both candidates want every vote to count.

On Wednesday, before the new voting numbers were released, Porter’s team issued this statement:

“We are proud of the race we drove and the work we did. Our team has knocked on over 125,000 doors, made over 640,000 calls and engaged people in every corner of the district. With tens of thousands of ballots still to be counted, our campaign respects Orange County voters and will be patiently awaiting the results. We know from the Congressman Porter race in 2018 that this process can take several days and it is important that every vote is counted.”

And late Tuesday, Baugh told the Register:

“Early returns always favor the Democrats. The race heats up considerably by the end of the night. We may not know the results for several days.”

The candidates offer sharp contrasts for a slightly Democratic-leaning district that extends from Irvine and covers much of Orange County’s coastal communities, including Laguna Beach, Newport Beach and part of Huntington Beach.

Porter, 48, a former law professor at UC Irvine, is a leading Democratic voice in the House of Representatives, a fundraising powerhouse who has a nationwide reputation for spying on business leaders and others in public hearings shared over the internet.

Baugh, 60, is a former congressman (1995-2000) and longtime political insider who led the Orange County Republican Party and was a major fundraiser for Republican politicians. Rep. Katie Porter, challenger Scott Baugh remains in a close race for CA-47 – Orange County Register

Dais Johnston

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