House Democrats gain in California, but key races undecided

California Republicans suffered twin setbacks in closely contested House races.

Democrat Mike Levin yesterday seized the Southern California House seat of retiring Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, President Barack Obama's one-time tormentor, while Rep. Steve Knight announced he'd been defeated in the last Republican-held House seat anchored in Los Angeles County.

The victory by Levin, an environmental attorney, carries symbolic heft because of Issa's nearly two-decade tenure on Capitol Hill. During that time, the car-alarm magnate known as one of the wealthiest members of Congress emerged as Obama's chief antagonist while heading the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

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

The race in the coastal 49th District in San Diego and Orange County between Levin and Republican rival Diane Harkey focused largely on President Trump's agenda, global warming and immigration.

Harkey, a former state lawmaker, had been endorsed by the president.

Dawn Kamber