But as is often the case with political rhetoric, reality is far more complicated."
Democrat Josh Harder beats GOP incumbent Jeff Denham in California's 10th Congressional District
AP's MICHAEL R. BLOOD: "First-time candidate Josh Harder defeated four-term Republican U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham Tuesday in California’s farm belt, giving Democrats their fourth pickup of a GOP House seat in California."
"Harder, 32, a venture capitalist, had anchored his campaign to Denham’s vote against the Affordable Care Act, while arguing that he would push for universal health care in Congress. He also argued that Denham and other Washington Republicans ignored poverty and health care in the agricultural 10th District in California’s Central Valley."
“Washington is broken because our leaders have put party over country. I pledge that I will always put this community before anything in Washington,” Harder said in a statement."
Democrat Katie Porter overtakes Republican Mimi Walters in 45th; 39th House race now a virtual tie as late ballot counts swing left
From JORDAN GRAHAM in the Orange County Register: "Democrats made significant gains Tuesday in late ballot counts for two key undecided House seats in Southern California as post-election tallies continue to swing in their favor and against Republicans."
"Democrat Katie Porter pulled ahead of incumbent GOP Rep. Mimi Walters in Orange County’s inland 45th District, while the battle for the 39th showed Democrat Gil Cisneros pulling close to even with Republican Young Kim."
"If those patterns continue, it’s possible Orange County – which Ronald Reagan famously described as “the place good Republicans go to die” – soon will have no GOP representatives in Washington D.C., after Republicans lost two other local House seats this cycle."
READ MORE on California elections: Thurmond opens substantial lead over Tuck in race for California schools chief -- LOUIS FREEDBERG in EdSource; Democrat Christy Smith takes lead over Republican Assemblyman Dante Acosta in LA-area race -- KEVIN MODESTI, LA Daily News; Election results keep getting better for California Democrats -- CASEY TOLAN, Mercury News; More than 11,000 votes down, Democrat Campa-Najjar has yet to concede to Rep. Duncan Hunter -- U-T's CHARLES T. CLARK
Hurtado claims victory in state Senate race after opening up 8,000-vote lead over Vidak
Fresno Bee's RORY APPLETON: "Sanger City Councilwoman Melissa Hurtado has claimed victory over state Sen. Andy Vidak in California’s 14th Senate District, according to a statement released Monday by her campaign."
"The latest Kern County election results update pushed Hurtado into an 8,000-vote lead over Vidak, who won a seat in the Senate through a special election in 2013. She now leads by eight percentage points."
"In her statement, the 30-year-old Hurtado promised to work for greater health care access, job creation, education and water solutions."
With Jeff Sessions out, is legal cannabis in, nationally? Advocates say it’s complicated, but they’re optimistic
BROOKE STAGGS, O.C. Register: "As late midterm votes are tallied and the last few tight races are called, cannabis rights advocates are celebrating a week that they say could accelerate drug reform across the country."
"The Nov. 6 vote didn’t produce a true “green wave.” Voters shot down some local and state proposals to loosen marijuana laws, and they rejected a few federal candidates with a history of supporting legal cannabis."
"But on balance the industry came out ahead, with major new legalization laws on several state books and some vocal cannabis supporters heading to office in January. “The momentum to end the drug war took a significant leap forward,” said Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “With such overwhelming public support for marijuana legalization, even including majorities of Republicans and older Americans, there’s only so long that the federal government can continue to hold out.”