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Here’s what results in key California House races look like so far

A photo of the Capitol dome, framed by overhanging leafy branches and bare trees in the foreground
Control of Congress in 2025 could be decided in Golden State battleground districts.
(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)
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Deep-blue California has long been a Democratic stronghold in presidential contests. But away from the azure coastline and sapphire-tinged urban centers, the state remains a battleground for several seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

That’s especially true this year. With Republicans holding a razor-thin three-seat majority and California home to several swing seats, control of Congress in 2025 could very well be decided by voters in Golden State suburbs.

The stage for those hotly contested races in Southern and Central California is being set during Tuesday’s primary, with the top two finishers continuing on to November’s general election.

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Beyond the partisan sound and fury, there are also several fiercely competitive local House races in overwhelmingly Democratic districts, including the battles to fill departing Reps. Adam B. Schiff’s and Grace F. Napolitano’s seats in the Los Angeles area. Because of California’s open primary, these races could see two Democrats advance to the November ballot.

Here’s a look at some key races:

Los Angeles area

27th District: The northern Los Angeles County seat currently held by Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) probably will be one of the most competitive partisan House races in the country come November. Because both parties have coalesced around their respective candidates, Democrat George Whitesides is favored to advance out of the primary to battle Garcia in the fall. A second Democrat, business owner Steve Hill, is also on the ballot in the district that includes Palmdale, Lancaster and Santa Clarita.

The race was called for Garcia with nearly 60 % of the vote. Whitesides stood in second place, with Hill far behind him.

29th District: This safely Democratic seat stretches from the southeast to the northeast of the San Fernando Valley and has been held by retiring Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Pacoima) since 2013. Establishment support has coalesced around Assemblymember Luz Rivas, who is favored to take the seat in November. Republican Benito “Benny” Bernal and Democrat Angélica María Due?as are also on the ballot.

Early results put Rivas in first place, with Bernal a distant second.

30th District: A crowd of prominent elected officials are vying to represent a wide swath of Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena, a seat held by Schiff since 2001. State Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-Burbank), Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), former L.A. City Atty. Mike Feuer and L.A. Unified school board member Nick Melvoin are largely viewed as the most competitive candidates in the overwhelmingly Democratic district.

Early results showed Friedman with a strong lead in first place, Republican candidate Alex Balekian in second place and Portantino not far behind Balekian in third.

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31st District: Voters in the San Gabriel Valley are choosing a new representative for the first time in a generation, following Napolitano’s retirement. Prominent candidates for the safely Democratic seat include former Rep. Gil Cisneros and state Sens. Bob Archuleta and Susan Rubio.

Cisneros led in early results, followed by Republican Daniel Martinez in second place and Republican and clinical psychologist Pedro Antonio Casas trailing narrowly in third.

Orange County’s swing seats

40th District: In an inland suburban district that’s largely based in Orange County, with slivers of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, incumbent Republican Rep. Young Kim is facing off against two Democratic challengers: Joe Kerr, a retired fire captain, and Allyson Mu?iz Damikolas, a Tustin Unified School District board member. With the race called for Kim , it’s a question of which Democrat will join her on the ballot in what’s sure to be a nationally watched general election race.

Kim has a substantial lead in first place, followed by Kerr at a distant second, with Damikolas far behind.

45th District: Republican Rep. Michelle Steel fended off four Democratic challengers — Kim Nguyen-Penaloza, Derek Tran, Aditya Pai and Cheyenne Hunt — to lead the ticket for an inland Orange County seat that also includes a slice of Los Angeles County. Much like in the 40th District, it’s a question of which Democrat will be battling Steel in the fall.

The race was called for Steel with more than half of the vote. Early results showed Tran was a distant second, followed by Nguyen-Penaloza.

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47th District: With incumbent Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) joining Schiff in the Senate race, her Orange County House seat is wide open for the taking. Republican Scott Baugh, whom Porter narrowly beat in 2022, is vying for the largely coastal, affluent seat again with the backing of the state GOP. Two Democrats — Joanna Weiss and state Sen. Dave Min — are also in the running.

Baugh led in early results, followed by Min in second and Weiss in third.

San Joaquin Valley

22nd District: Will the internecine battling between fellow Democrats state Sen. Melissa Hurtado and former Assemblymember Rudy Salas potentially split the Democratic vote to such a degree that two Republicans are able to advance to the general election in this furiously contested House seat? That’s the existential fear for the Democrats, who are hoping to reclaim the heavily agricultural district from vulnerable Republican incumbent Rep. David Valadao.

Valadao is also being challenged from the right by a fellow Republican, former Fresno City Council member Chris Mathys. President Biden won the district in the 2020 election and it’s poised to be one of the most competitive districts in the country in November, unless a Democrat fails to make the runoff.

Early results showed Valadao in first place and Salas in second, with Mathys substantially behind in third place.

20th District: In one of California’s reddest corners, candidates are vying to replace former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in a district that includes portions of Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties. Contenders include Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux and Assemblymember Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield), who has been endorsed by McCarthy and former President Trump.

Voters will have two separate elections in the span of two weeks for the seat. Along with the March 5 primary for the next term, a March 19 special election to fill out the remainder of McCarthy’s term is also scheduled. The winner of the special election will serve in Congress until January 2025, when the next congressional term begins.

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Early results for the primary election have already flip-flopped several times, but the most recent tranche showed Fong with a strong lead in first place, followed by Boudreaux and Democrat Marisa Wood.

Faith Pinho contributed to this report.

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