What Newsom’s Orange County win says about 2022

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Orange County – despite its historic associations with famous old-fashioned Tories including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and John Wayne – has not been a Republican stronghold for years.

In 2016, headlines announced that Hillary Clinton had turned Orange County blue in the presidential election. In 2018, my colleagues wrote that Democrats knocked down four seats in the Orange County Congress, a sweep that turned Democratic “a Republican stronghold”.

Of course, 2020 showed that those statements may have been premature: the county chose President Biden over former President Donald J. Trump, but two of those congressional districts returned to Republican control with the victories of the Representative Michelle Steel and Representative Young Kim, both among the top three Korean American women in Congress.

Kim told me last year that his election represented a new direction for the Republican Party.

“It’s not a Trump or Biden problem,” she said. “This is how I’m going to work.

Then came the recall election, offering political analysts a rare opportunity to take the temperature in key parts of California a year before the midterms of 2022. As my colleague Shane Goldmacher and I have reported this on weekends, they kept a close eye on Orange County.

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The region is no longer a wealthy and conservative enclave, but a vision for the future of major suburban counties across the country: increasingly diverse and politically complex – which makes it enticing to both major parties, which see the territory as to be gained by candidates who lead nuanced campaigns.

“In Orange County, if you run a cookie-cutter campaign, you’re going to lose,” former California Republican Party chairman Shane Jim Brulte, who lives in San Juan Capistrano, told Shane.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has described his fight to keep his job as a matter of life and death, as a battle for progressive California values ​​against a Trumpian takeover. And on Wednesday, the vote in Orange County was 51.7% against the recall.

Voters I spoke with at Ladera Ranch, a very Republican dorm community near San Juan Capistrano, told me they feel the political makeup of their neighborhoods changing – though few discuss politics in person. Most of the time, partisan fights took place in Facebook groups.

Candice Carvalho, 42, a Democrat from Ladera Ranch who voted against the recall, said she and her neighbors were exhausted by the bitter partisan divisions that many defined the Trump presidency.

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“I think everyone has had a year and a half so difficult that I have a feeling people want – not to get together, but to kind of get together,” she said. “Let’s just go ahead. “

But how this partisanship weariness translates into House races next year depends on what lessons the Republican Party learns from the recall, analysts said.

Representative Katie Porter, a Democrat who was elected to her seat in the Irvine area in 2018 and won again in 2020, told me her victories hinged on the engagement of voters from both parties on issues important to them.

“Until you have a sense of where the Republican Party is going to land in its values, with science, gender equality and the fight against climate change,” she said, ” it’s hard to know at this point how you would best engage across party lines. “

For more:

This mushroom lasagna tastes very rich, although it really isn’t.


Today’s travel tip comes from Patricia Goodson, who recommends the town of Ferndale in Humboldt County:

“It’s a city of Victorian houses. Great stores and the only way to the lost coast. Views of the ocean for miles without traffic jams or many houses.

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to [email protected] We will share more in future editions of the newsletter.

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The century-old diary Christina Lalanne found in her San Francisco home wowed her with the beginnings of a story of two young Danish lovers, separated by various trips to the United States and an unhappy marriage.

Eventually, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, they may have seen each other again.

But the real love story here is that between a deeply rooted San Franciscan woman and her home.


Thanks for reading. We’ll be back to your inbox tomorrow.

PS here the mini-crosswords of the day, and a clue: Beginning of the alphabet (3 letters).

Steven Moity, Mariel Wamsley and Soumya Karlamangla contributed to California Today. You can join the team at [email protected].

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