Orange County Democrats took a moment on Saturday to pat themselves on the back for flipping a longtime Republican stronghold blue.
"The state of our party is stronger than ever," said Ada Briceño, chair of the Democratic Party of Orange County, from the stage at the Truman Awards Dinner in Anaheim on Saturday night.
In August, the number of registered Democrats overtook Republicans in Orange County for the first time since the post-Watergate era of the 1970s. That lead has since expanded to over 6,000 voters, Briceño said.
But the celebration was tempered with predictions about the tough contests ahead in the upcoming 2020 election. There are already a number of established GOP challengers lining up to take back Orange County congressional districts that the party lost during the midterms.
"They're coming after me," said Rep. Gil Cisneros (CA-39), who won a tight election in North Orange County to represent a seat long held by Republican Congressman Ed Royce. It was one of four congressional districts in the county that slipped away from the GOP in 2018.
"We must recruit and fight like hell to win local seats," Briceño told the crowd.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Crowd is cheering for <a href="https://twitter.com/RepMikeLevin?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RepMikeLevin</a> on impeachment: “Like many of you, I believe <a href="https://twitter.com/POTUS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@POTUS</a> has betrayed his oath of office.” <br><br>“I didn’t go to Washington to impeach a President” but...<br><br>”Fellow Democrats, I believe the times have found us. Are we up to this moment?” Crowd: “Yes!” <a href="https://t.co/EpqLstiCf4">pic.twitter.com/EpqLstiCf4</a></p>— Libby Denkmann (@libdenk) <a href="https://twitter.com/libdenk/status/1178145489864126464?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 29, 2019</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Orange County Republicans say the decision by freshmen Democrats to support an impeachment inquiry against President Trump has their volunteers fired up.
"[I]t’s not a moderate thing to do to drag the country into this impeachment drama that’s going to last almost a year until the election," said Randall Avila, Executive Director of the Orange County GOP. "I don’t see them as addressing the issues that Orange County families really are focused on and care about."
KPCC's Libby Denkmann spoke to All Things Considered host Nick Roman about the dynamic.
This story first aired on 89.3 KPCC. You can listen to the radio version by clicking on the blue player at the top of your screen.