SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Democratic Rep. Harley Rouda is continuing his run for a second Congressional term as Republican Michelle Steel, who is the Orange County Supervisor, challenges him for the seat in the state’s 48th district.
The district covers coastal Orange County from Seal Beach to Aliso Viejo, and the outcome will affect partisan control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
As the gap closes between Rouda and Steel, voters are gearing up for what is already be a close race.
“I really have to work hard,” Steel said about the election.
“We know this is one of the harder races in the country but we prevailed in 2018,” Rouda said about his chances of taking the seat again.
Two years ago, Rouda flipped the 30-year Republican seat when he beat longtime Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.
“My predecessor was here for 30 years and passed three bills. I’ve already passed three bills in my first year. You can’t do that unless you’re willing to reach across the aisle,” Rouda said.
Steel, who is the head of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, and her supports say she’s a tough candidate to beat, too.
“I returned over $400 million. I know how to count, my opponent doesn’t. They’re going to vote for me,” Steel said.
Steel’s platform includes opposition to abortion rights, gay marriage and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
“O.C. needs really someone who is going to fight for them,” she said.
Rouda’s plan is to continue focusing on the environment and healthcare.
“I’m looking forward to going back for another term and continue to serve our constituents here our communities here and across our country.”