The way to a GOP majority of the U.S. House of Representatives is likely to be based upon three California races. One of the races is being declared the Decision Desk HQ. Michelle Steel maintains her seat in California 45 (CA-45) and beats Democrat candidate Jay Chen by eight percentage points, 53 percent to 46.
It was not an easy task for the incumbent for just one term as well as one of the very first Korean-American women in Congress. Steel initially represented CA-47 and was able to wrest this district away from Democrat incumbent Harley Rouda in 2020. As the lines within the district were revised in the spring of this season, Steel decided not to contest in the race against Democrat Katie Porter who now was representing the CA-47 district. Instead, she shifted to CA-45 that encompasses Little Saigon, home to the largest Vietnamese population in the United States.
Steel has been criticized over what his supporters called “red-baiting.” Steel's campaign has led to links between Chen and the Chinese Communist Party. Steel was also a partner in the writing of an amicus brief filed in favor against an appeal by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Following Dobbs being ruled on and the Governor Gavin Newsom ramped up the already heated environment surrounding the pro-abortion movement, Chen used Steel's pro-life position and efforts to reverse Roe to discredit Steel's support among women.
Chen launched a new television commercial in his campaign that accuses Steel for her stances against the basic right of women to decide what to do with their bodies.
Steel co-authored an amicus brief for the Supreme Court calling for dismantling Roe v. Wade and co-sponsored the Life At Conception Act, calling for a federal ban on abortion without any exceptions for rape and incest.
“Michelle Steel knows that her politics are dangerous for everyday people,” Chen said. “National Republicans are targeting our fundamental rights. Congresswoman Steel will serve as the rubber stamp for an abortion ban in the United States which will strip away Californians rights. Her opinions make her an outlier in red-hot Kansas and even California. Orange County residents deserve a representative who protects their rights, not undermines them.”
A native American of Taiwanese origin, Chen was positioned not just as an immigrant son, but also as moderately progressive. Chen is a lieutenant of the U.S. Navy Reserve as also a small-business owner. Therefore, Chen could comfortably speak about the increasing cost of goods as well as their effect on families and small-scale companies. However, Chen also addressed the reforms in abortion rights as well as free education for everyone. Chen's younger energy and his status as an naturalized immigrant living in an area that is heavily Asian-American helped to sever Steel's core.
Following the closing of the polls on the 8th of November, Chen held a slight advantage. In the following week, Steel's results began to increase and she began to advance ahead of Chen while maintaining her easy lead that ultimately was the reason for her victory.