Despite Democrats’ confident predictions of a “Blue Wave” sweeping statehouses in the November election, the final results showed that almost nothing had changed. Yet in California, a Democrat stronghold, Republicans are poised to flip more House seats than in any other state.
The results have shown a significant, reversal from the 2018 midterms, which was marked by a rabid anti-Trump furor that helped Democrats flip seven House seats. Now, the GOP is on the verge of taking back four of those seats.
In the Republican stronghold of Orange County, Michelle Steel took back California’s 48th District after the unprecedented 2018 victory of Democratic Rep. Harley Rouda.
California’s 21st District, which includes Fresno and Kern counties, looks set to return to the GOP after David Valadao was projected this week to reclaim the seat he lost to Democratic Rep. TJ Cox in 2018.
Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Garcia declared victory last Friday in the state’s 25th Congressional District. The seat, a former GOP stronghold that spans parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, was flipped blue by Democrat Katie Hill in 2018, but she resigned from Congress last year over a nude photo scandal. The final results are expected to be announced later this week.
So how did Republicans manage to make gains in a solidly blue state – despite confident predictions to the contrary?
For California Republican Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson, GOP gains in the Golden States reflected Californian’s disillusionment with years of Democrats’ “failed” policies.
“Californians are ready for some change,” Patterson told Fox News in an interview. “California Democrats have to own every single failed policy here in California, whether it’s affordability, homelessness of K-12 education. They have shown every single one of those failures. And I think time and time again, they have shown – particularly Governor Newsom – how out of touch they are with working Californians.”
Patterson said that the flipped House seats, combined with voters’ rejection of a batch of progressive propositions, suggests that “Californians overwhelmingly agreed with us on the idea.”
“People were fed up and sick and tired of every single new regulation and just out of touch policy that they tried to put forward in these communities. And we talked about it. We talked about what their failures were and what California Republican solutions are,” she said.
A person who worked on both the campaigns of Mike Garcia and Michelle Steel attributed their wins to a message of lower taxation and less regulation, which puts them at odds with what is coming out of Sacramento.
“I think when you have good candidates with a good message of lower taxes and fighting tax hikes, things like that – saying I don’t support defunding the police, that was also, kind of the background of both of these races. I think when you have good candidates with a good fiscal message, that plays anywhere,” he said. “And it shows that when you have that, you can be outspent two, three, four-to-one and still win at the end of the day.”
Though Democrats have ultimately retained control of the House, their losses pointed to a potential GOP-controlled House in 2022, but a potential foothold in a state where they have been sidelined for decades.
“Here in California, we've been the poster child for failed radical left socialist agenda. And we don't want this to happen to the rest of the country,” Patterson said. “We're doing our best to fix things here in California. And I think that if you haven't already, you should take another look at the California Republican Party.”
Fox News’ Brie Stimson contributed to this report.