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By Eric Heinz
Tuesday night was a significant victory for House Democrats across the nation and California, but one of the large milestones in this state that was secured for the “blue wave” in the state’s 49th district.
Democratic candidate Mike Levin of San Juan Capistrano appears to be the victor after the final results from San Diego County were tallied late Wednesday morning.
Heading into the wee hours of Election Night on Tuesday, Nov. 6, with a lead of about 5 percent and a number of precincts reported, Levin celebrated a little early. But the final numbers to come in were from San Diego Couty, which voted for the Democratic candidate of the 49th district heavily in the 2016 election.
Levin braced his campaign on the back of his environmental lobbying and legal experience in the field. He has vowed to stop President Donald Trump’s administration from executing its offshore oil drilling proposals and favored an affordable health care system.
Republican Diane Harkey of Dana Point had hoped to keep the district in her party’s control, as the predecessor of the district seat was held by Republican Rep. Darrell Issa for nearly 20 years. Harkey used her experience as a “tax-fighter” to drum up support and stood behind the “Yes on Prop 6” campaign to repeal Gov. Jerry Brown’s gas tax.
“I feel great, and it’s a victory for all of those who have worked so hard for a long time to finally flip this district, and I’m very grateful,” Levin said in a phone interview with the San Clemente Times on Wednesday.
Trump wasted no time in venting his frustration about the Republican House losses from Tuesday, blaming outgoing Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and then later declaring the evening a success based on its four Senate seat gains. When asked what kind of political atmosphere he expects to inherit, Levin said he’s optimistic.
“I think it’s going to be positive and I base that on a conversation with Darrell Issa. Mr. Issa and I have differed on political issues. We nonetheless had a great discussion, and he offered his help in the transition,” Levin said. “I beliebe the institution of the House of Representatives, and it is very important and that all members treat each other with respect, and hopefully in a short time, we can get beyond the toxic rhetoric.”
If the numbers hold true following canvassing of the ballots, that would mean turnout for this particular election garnered just half of the 310,000 votes that were cast in the 2016 election.
On Twitter, Levin thanked many supporters and retweeted a few supporters declaring victory for him. He said he’s to report to Washington, D.C. by Monday for orientation.
Editor’s note: The last of the unofficial results of the 2018 mid-term election were reported at 11:27 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 7, which is right when the San Clemente Times must go to print. An earlier version of the series of events in this story will appear in the Nov. 8-14 edition.