issa

The Associated Press reports Darrell Issa has won reelection to his California House seat. The Republican congressman narrowly defeated Marine-turned-lawyer Democrat Doug Applegate, in a race that had been too close to call until Monday afternoon.

Unofficial returns Monday showed Issa holding a 2,348-vote edge, with only a small number of votes left to tally. Vote-counting extended for weeks after the election as officials tallied late-arriving mail ballots and those filled out at polling places.

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Republicans are on track to hold at least 240 seats in the House next year. With Issa keeping his seat, the only unresolved races left in the country are in Louisiana.

Democrats, who hoped for significant gains in the election, picked up just six seats on Election Day and remain in the minority with 194 seats.

The political newcomer Applegate sought to portray Issa as an extremist and Trump foot soldier, while Issa framed his rival as a liberal who was out of step with the district and would raise taxes and snatch guns from legal owners.

Issa, the former chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee made his fortune from car-alarm manufacturing has been estimated at more than $250 million. As the AP put it, “the wealthiest member of Congress is keeping his job.”

The Issa/Applegate contest shows how competitive even formerly solid GOP areas of coastal California have become. Republicans held a 20-point registration advantage over Democrats in Issa’s coastal district, which includes wealthy seaside enclaves north of San Diego. That double-digit margin has dwindled to single digits, while the number of independents has soared by 60 percent.