- Republican Rep. Mimi Walters of California claimed that Democrats would attempt to force a recount to “steal” her seat in multiple fundraising emails obtained by INSIDER.
- Walters leads her Democratic opponent, Katie Porter, by just 1,000 votes in a close race for control of California’s 45th Congressional District, located in Orange County.
- Another Republican running in Orange County, Young Kim of the 39th District, also accused her Democratic opponent of tampering with votes to influence the election, which local officials denied.
Rep. Mimi Walters, who is fighting for reelection in California’s 45th Congressional District, repeatedly charged Democrats are attempting to “steal” her seat by tampering with votes, according to recent fundraising emails sent out by her campaign and obtained by INSIDER.
Walters, a second-term Republican congresswoman, is now narrowly trailing law professor Katie Porter, in the race for the 45th District, located in Orange County in Southern California.
By 5 p.m. local time on Tuesday, Porter had taken a slim 261-vote lead over Walters after a fresh batch of ballots were tabulated in Orange County. Walters had led by around 1,000 votes the day before.
Elections in California take longer to resolve than in most states, since California allows mail-in ballots that arrive up to the Friday after Election Day to be counted as long as they’re postmarked by Election Day.
In at least three emails sent out between Sunday and Tuesday, Walters’ campaign charged that “Democrats are already preparing for a recount to try and steal this Republican seat after the fact.” The campaign also wrote “the left has spent tens of millions against me, and they will stop at nothing to make sure they can still win this seat.”
A fundraising email sent Tuesday said “we need to be ready with the resources to handle a recount operation. We must be able to make sure vote tallies aren’t tampered with, and that only valid votes from registered voters are counted.”
Unlike other states, California does not have an automatic threshold to trigger a recount of votes. A recount must be requested by a registered California voter.
A representative for Walters’ campaign did not respond to INSIDER’s request for comment.
In California’s 39th Congressional District, the other Southern California race that remains to be called, Republican Young Kim claimed her Democratic opponent, Gil Cisneros, had been reprimanded by the Los Angeles County Registrar for physically tampering with ballots and “harassing” vote counters.
A spokesperson for the LA County Registrar, however, refuted the Kim campaign’s allegations in a Tuesday statement to INSIDER. The registrar’s office declined to comment on the Cisneros camp’s claims that multiple observers from the Kim campaign had been asked to leave for attempted vote tampering.
Republicans in Florida, which is in the throes of its own recounts in the hotly contested gubernatorial and Senate races, have also accused Democrats and local election officials of election fraud and vote tampering, allegations echoed by President Donald Trump.
In a Tuesday ruling, a judge in Florida found no evidence for those claims of election fraud, encouraging both Democrats and Republicans to “ramp down the rhetoric” while the recounts proceed.