district races photo

On Tuesday, the Titan Student Union opened its doors to voters, allowing them to cast their votes and drop off ballots amid the rainy weather outside. (Rosemary Montalvo / Daily Titan)

The races for the 45th Congressional District and the 67th California assembly member remain narrow after the midterm elections Tuesday.

Republican Michelle Steel has captured over 82,000 votes in the race for California’s 45th Congressional District, leading against Democratic Jay Chen, who gained about 69,000 votes shortly past 5 p.m. Saturday evening.

Democratic candidate Quirk-Silva holds a marginal lead over opponent Soo Yoo in the race to become an assembly member of California’s 67th District. Quirk-Silva gained 51.3% of the votes while Yoo has 48.7% of the votes. 

Orange County includes about 1.8 million voters; this year, about 42.5% of these voters cast their ballots for the midterm election.

Steel said she supports affordable healthcare, lowering taxes, supporting law enforcement and fighting inflation. She previously represented California’s 48th District, which included Huntington Beach, Aliso Viejo and Newport Beach prior to redistricting in 2021. 

During her time in office, Steel voted against the legalization of abortion and co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act, which would ban abortions and certain types of birth control.

Andrea Mew is the communication strategist for the Lincoln Club of Orange County, the largest conservative non-profit donor organization in California. Mew said the Lincoln Club of Orange County has endorsed Steel in her past campaigns.

“Keeping her in office, keeping a seat from California red, making sure it doesn't flip blue is very important in the overall plan to, you know, take back the house,” Mew said. 

During these midterm elections, Steel spent more money than Chen. According to the Federal Election Committee, Steel received about $6.8 million and spent about $5.9 million. Chen raised about $4.6 million and spent about $4.2 million. 

Opponent Jay Chen is a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy and a small-business owner. Chen supports the protection of reproductive rights, lowering rising costs and increasing resources for small businesses among other issues.

The 45th Congressional District race was one of several critical races in California.

According to the Secretary of State, Orange County includes six representatives. All leading candidates in these districts have previously served as representatives. After redistricting in 2021, five candidates are running for election in newly-established districts. 

Xavier Nunez-Sundara, the vice president of the College Democrats of Cal State Fullerton, was tabling with Jay Chen’s campaign on election day. Nunez-Sundara said the 45th Congressional District is a vigorously contested area because it may be determined by student voters.

“Voting is the essential thing you can do in a democracy. It’s perhaps the most important thing you can do in government. And getting people started on voting earlier, as soon as they can, helps instill in them that value of American democracy,” Nunez-Sundara said.

As of Saturday night, four Republican candidates and two Democratic candidates who would represent Orange County are winning in their districts. Two of the Republican candidates who are winning are Steel and Young Kim, who previously served as the representative for Fullerton.

In the assembly districts, five Republican candidates and four Democratic candidates who would serve Orange County are winning in their districts as of Sunday night, including assembly member Sharon-Quirk Silva.

After being virtually tied Wednesday, Quirk-Silva currently holds 51.5% of the 80,623 votes counted. She previously served as Fullerton’s assembly member but is running for election this year due to redistricting.

Quirk-Silva has served four non-consecutive terms in the position. She was first elected in 2012 after she defeated former Fullerton Mayor Chris Norby. After losing to 39th District representative Kim in 2014, Quirk-Silva was reelected as an assembly member after defeating Kim in 2016. 

Following her second consecutive term, Quirk-Silva was reelected as assembly member again after her victory against Cynthia Thacker in 2020.

Before being elected as an assembly member, the CSUF alumna served two terms as the Fullerton mayor between 2004 and 2012. 

According to the Secretary of State, Quirk-Silva gained nearly twice as much money as Yoo and spent nearly three times as much. Quick-Silva gained about $693,000 and spent about $918,000 on her campaign. Yoo gained about $353,000 and spent about $303,000 on her campaign.

Yoo served as president of the ABC Unified School District Board and represented Trustee Area 2 after she was elected in 2013. 

Yoo said she plans to focus on lowering the cost of living, working with law enforcement to improve community safety and standing up for parental rights.

Yoo said she strongly opposes the movement to defund the police and aims to implement hard-on-crime policies that punish repeat offenders and hire more police officers.

There are still several races that are too close to call at this time, and there are 32 days left to count all of the votes.


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