Republican Rep. Darrell Issa officially won re-election Monday, giving the House GOP yet another win in a seat it had once feared losing.
The Associated Press called the race nearly three weeks after Election Day, with Issa leading Democrat Doug Applegate, 51 percent to 49 percent.
Democrats made defeating Issa, one of the biggest critics of President Obama’s administration, a major late priority. But it’s a race that didn’t come onto the map until this fall.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee added Applegate to its Red to Blue program in September.
Democrats spent big to tie Issa to Donald Trump, and some of their internal polling suggested the strategy was working.
But as it had in most other House battlegrounds this year, the Trump-heavy message from Democrats failed to resonate with enough voters.
California’s 49th District includes southern Orange County and western San Diego County.
Coming into Election Day, the race was rated Tilts Republican by The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.
This year’s win is the narrowest of Issa’s congressional career. He had never been seriously challenged in his district in previous elections. In 2014, he coasted to victory by 20 points.