Democratic Representative Mike Levin holds on to his coastal Southern California county seat

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Democratic Representative Mike Levin has won re-election in a coastal congressional district that spans Orange and San Diego counties.

Levin defeated Brian Maryott, a Republican businessman and former mayor of San Juan Capistrano, in a rematch of the 2020 contest. The The Bharat Express News called the race Wednesday, though official results are delayed.

Levin thanked his family, volunteers and supporters on Wednesday, and he also praised Maryott. (The two live in the same town and attend the same church.)

“A thriving democracy requires competition for citizens’ votes, and for those who voted for Mr. Maryott, I want to assure you that my door is always open,” Levin said in a statement. “I welcome opportunities to work together, because the best legislation is always the one with the broadest input. I firmly believe that sales representative is not only my job title, but also my job description.”

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Maryott’s campaign has not returned requests for comment.

The contest seemed so close that President Biden campaigned with Levin just days before the election — a sign of concern from Democrats about holding on to the seat as they battled for control of the House, tipped by Republicans on Wednesday.

Stretching from Laguna Beach to Del Mar, the 49th Congressional District includes Camp Pendleton and a mothballed nuclear power plant. It is one of several blue-state districts that overwhelmingly supported Biden in 2020 and were targeted by Republicans in the midterm elections. The GOP had hoped that Biden’s low approval ratings and the country’s economic difficulties would boost their candidates.

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Democrats have a narrow 3.1 percentage point lead in voter registration in the district, which is home to many commuters. Much of Maryott’s campaign focus has been on wallet issues at a time of rising inflation and high gas prices.

Levin, who worked as an environmental lawyer before being elected to the House in 2018, has pushed a bold clean energy agenda, supporting zero-emission vehicles and banning new drilling off the California coast.

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But he has also prioritized issues of particular concern to district voters, including improving services to veterans and moving the radioactive waste buried at the closed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

After his race was declared on Wednesday, Levin mentioned his work in health care, climate change, veterans services, semiconductors and infrastructure in his statement.

“I am deeply honored to have been able to work across the aisle to build bipartisan, commonsense coalitions to address many of these issues,” he said. “There’s a lot more to do and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

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