Republican incumbent Steve Knight has retained his U.S. House seat in California’s increasingly Democratic 25th Congressional District.
Knight led Democratic challenger Bryan Caforio 54-46 percent with all precincts reporting by late Wednesday morning. Caforio congratulated his opponent in a statement conceding the race on Facebook.
"While I’m disappointed in the outcome, I wish Congressman Knight nothing but the best as he continues to represent the 25th District," Caforio wrote. "I hope that after this election he takes the time to listen to the community and works to represent the District as a whole, not only those that voted for him."
Though no Democrat has held the 25th District seat since 1964, national party leaders had seen Knight as vulnerable. In 2014, voter registration numbers first showed Democrats overtaking Republicans in the 25th, which runs from Simi Valley through Santa Clarita and Lancaster. Since then, Democrats’ registration edge has only grown.
Caforio earlier said people were "feeling the excitement, feeling the opportunity to take this community in a different direction, of having someone who’s going to represent them."
The campaign was bruising. Democratic groups flooded the district with cash for mailers and media buys, outspending Republican-allied groups roughly 3-to-1.
Two Democratic groups, the DCCC and the House Majority PAC, accounted for most of the $6.7 million in outside money spent on the race. The two groups combined to spend $4.7 million in hopes of boosting Caforio or ousting Knight — including a $170,000 media buy the DCCC made just last Friday.
“It’s been a horrible race,” Knight said. “This is not how politics should be in America. Politics should be about what you are going to do for the folks in the district, not how you can tear someone else down. I’m hoping after the rigamarole of this election, we can get back to that.”
The attacks have gone both ways. Knight has criticized Caforio for only recently moving into the district. Caforio moved with his family in November 2015 and earlier said that, regardless of the outcome, he and his wife plan to raise their children there.
This story has been updated.