California 49 (CA-49) was one of the districts flipped in 2018 by Democrats, when Rep. Darrell Issa, the incumbent for nine terms, decided not to run again for the district seat. Democrat Mike Levin went on to defeat Republican State Senator Diane Harkey, and the seat was secured by the Democrats. While the Orange County Republican Party has had some success in clawing back its failure to retain seats in that cycle with demographic and district boundary changes, save for very red and conservative San Clemente in South Orange County, CA-49, which encompasses the southern end of Orange County (Laguna Niguel/San Juan Capistrano/San Clemente) through Northern San Diego (Oceanside/Vista/Encinitas/Carlsbad) is now a Democrat stronghold.
Decision Desk HQ announced on Tuesday night that Democratic Rep. Mike Levin defeated his opponent, Republican Bryan Maryott, by an extremely narrow margin of 50 percent to 48 percent. Maryott's loss is his second to Levin after Maryott tried to defeat him in 2020.
This time, Maryott gave Levin a real run. In fact, the DNC brought President Joe Biden to San Diego County to address a rally in support of Levin in Oceanside to boost his campaign. Levin maintained a small lead on November 8 and then slowly moved ahead by tiny percentages. If it had remained the same, it could have been anybody's race to take home the prize. Following a substantial drop of ballots on November 12, Levin pulled ahead by more than five percentage points. Levin continued to lead for the next week after the election on November 8.
The seat was viewed by both political parties as needing to be won to secure the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. But after the recent victories of Republican incumbent Rep. Mike Garcia (CA-27) and Republican candidate Kevin Kiley (CA-03), the seat became less important because the Republican majority in the House was secured.