This year’s midterm elections have finally come to an end with several close races, such as Democrat Gil Cisneros’ narrow victory over Young Kim in the 39th District. Overall, the Democratic Party has picked up 40 seats in the House of Representatives, including seven in California.
Cal State Fullerton’s College Republicans club President Brooke Paz was surprised when she heard that Kim lost. She said Kim was a very likable person with plans to help students reduce their loans, and also a big advocate for CSUF, a university that Kim’s children attended.
Paz is interested to see if Cisneros will be the same proponent for the university as Kim was. She said she feels uncertain about Cisneros’ plans for education.
“Gil Cisneros, he’s not from the area. He just came in to campaign and get in this election. So I’ll be interested to see what he does. I’m not quite sure. He’s a little bit of a wild card,” Paz said.
The final race was called Wednesday, when the Democratic candidate for the 21st Congressional District, TJ Cox, defeated Republican incumbent David Valadao by 529 votes, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The ability to flip all those seats was something that CSUF Democrats club President Andrea Guzman, who refers to the winning of the House as a “blue wave,” was surprised by.
Paz is disappointed in the result. She claims that though the victory was surprising, it is “a natural cycle” for seats to flip once a new president is in office.
Dean Kazoleas, professor of public relations and advisor to the CSUF Republicans, agreed with Paz about the election cycle, noting the “historical trend” of the House flipping.
“Only in the last — for example, like 80 to 90 years — only two or three times have you ever seen a House not switch,” Kazoleas said.
Scott Spitzer, associate professor of political science and advisor to the CSUF Democrats, views the win as a way to provide the Democratic Party the ability to focus more on issues like climate change and caring for those less fortunate.
“It really reflects, I hope, a renewed energy on the part of the left in the United States to flex their political muscle and sort of begin the process of shifting the country’s priorities back to what I think are the right priorities,” Spitzer said.
In terms of the election, Spitzer did not expect the Democratic Party to win the way they did, sweeping all seven districts in Orange County, a region that has historically voted conservatively.
“In 16 years, it went from very solidly red to a swing area,” Spitzer said, referring to the change in political structure for the county compared to when he first moved there in 2002.
Paz was also surprised by the Orange County outcome but sees the result as a way for the Republican Party to assess what it may have done wrong or what the Democratic Party did right in this election and prepare for the 2020 elections with that in mind.
Guzman said Gil Cisneros’ victory in the 39th was the one victory that she was most excited about because she worked on his campaign. Cisneros was losing on election night Nov. 6, but was announced the winner on Nov. 17.
“I knew he was going to win election night. We sort of saw the math and we’re like yes, right now it’s leaning toward Young Kim with the precincts reporting, but we know that they’re counting not just Election Day,” Guzman said.
Kazoleas said he is unsure about the election results’ impact on CSUF due to people like Ed Royce not being around anymore, who Kazoleas called a supporter of the school. He said he is hopeful that Cisneros will become someone who will assist CSUF when the university needs it.
Guzman said she believes that Cisneros will be a great representative for the district and that he’ll understand the needs of students from his work in his education foundation.
“Before he even thought about running for Congress he was a student advocate,” Guzman said. “The district is very diverse, so Mr. Cisneros going into office, I believe, really represents the 39th and Cal State Fullerton and its very diverse student body.”