Democrat Mike Levin defeats Republican Diane Harkey

WASHINGTON  — California Democrat Mike Levin defeated Republican Diane Harkey by nearly 28,000 votes in a hotly contested race for a vacant US House seat, securing another blue vote for the new Democratically controlled House, CNN projects.

Levin, an environmental attorney, ran an energetic shoe-leather campaign in California’s 49th Congressional District, with an eye toward activating younger voters.

He cast Harkey, a former member of the state’s Board of Equalization, as a “rubber stamp” for President Donald Trump, a characterization that likely played well with the district’s wealthy, college-educated voters.

On Sunday, nearly two weeks after the midterm elections, the closely watched race was finally called in favor of Levin, who secured 55.5% of the vote compared to Harkey’s 44.5%.

The Democratic pickup, which comes in a district that was represented by retiring Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, is another win for the party, which has been rounding up additional House seats since the election.