LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — Democrat Mike Levin captured the U.S. House seat held for years by retiring Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, in a GOP-leaning district that includes parts of Orange County.

The victory carries symbolic weight because of Issa’s nearly two-decade tenure, during which he was a chief antagonist of President Barack Obama. The 49th District is partly in the one-time GOP stronghold of Orange County including San Clemente, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano and Ladera Ranch. The rest is in San Diego County.

Levin, an environmental attorney, had about 54 percent of nearly 177,000 votes counted so far.

He sparred with Republican rival Diane Harkey over President Donald Trump’s agenda, global warming and immigration. Harkey, a former state lawmaker, had been endorsed by the president.

gettyimages 1045824018 Democrat Mike Levin Captures US House Seat Previously Held By GOPs Darrell Issa

Mike Levin. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“I don’t think that the traditional Orange County Republican embraces Trumpism,” Levin told The Associated Press. He said voters in the district are concerned with coastal protection and climate change.

With Levin’s victory Democrats will hold at least a 40-13 advantage in California’s congressional delegation.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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