Now that Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) is the first California member of Congress to opt for retirement instead of a long, contentious campaign for reelection, his 39th Congressional District is getting a new look from Democrats eager to regain control of the House of Representatives.
The Cook Political Report immediately moved the Orange County district’s rating from “leans Republican” to “leans Democratic,” and Inside Elections shifted it from the GOP column to “Tossup.”
The Los Angeles Times reports that the 13-term Republican’s announcement came as a surprise, with party leaders learning of Royce’s retirement as the public did, through social media. Royce was one of the top targets in California, and Democrats liked their chances before it suddenly became an open seat.
Still, the reality on the ground still makes a Democratic win in this historically Republican district complicated. Here’s what you need to know about this major battleground in the 2018 midterms.