California’s 2019 ‘blue wave’ followed by GOP red riptide in 2020

Two years ago, Democratic newcomers across the state were swept into Congress atop a frothing “blue wave” of anti-Trump fervor — a result that only became apparent late in the vote count. This year’s election has been playing out a little like 2018 in reverse. 

This time the Democrats led early on, only to see their margins shrink as in-person Republican votes were tallied later. Of the seven seats that flipped from the GOP to the Democrats in 2018, only three now clearly remain in Democratic control. Two went to GOP challengers, and two still remain too close to call.

On Friday, freshman Democratic Rep. Gil Cisneros conceded defeat to his Republican opponent Young Kim in the tri-county district that binds northern Orange County to the corners of Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. This came after Kim spent the week since Election Day running up her lead. That’s exactly the opposite of what happened in the midterms when Cisneros, a political neophyte who used his lottery winnings to finance his campaign, was declared the victor over Kim after a week of ballot counting steadily pushed the results into the Democratic column. 

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