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The G.O.P.’s Surprise Rescue Operation in an Orange County House Race

Even more notable: The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC that is aligned with Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader, and is devoted to making him speaker, has also jumped in, with even more ads attacking Raths.

The total anti-Raths spending is now around $1 million, according to AdImpact, the ad-tracking service — a sign of the importance of the race, for which there has been scant public polling.

“Following redistricting, Young Kim has a largely new district and it’s important voters know that she’s the only credible conservative in the race,” said Calvin Moore, a spokesman for the Congressional Leadership Fund. “It’s a must-win race for November, and we’re going to do all we can to make sure a standout leader like Kim prevails.”

After years as a Republican stronghold, Orange County had already been shifting to the left before Donald Trump accelerated the change. In 2016, Kim lost her Orange County seat in the State Assembly to a Democrat.

In that campaign, she faced attacks comparing her to Trump, including an Auto-Tuned music video titled “Young Kim Is Like Donald Trump.” In 2018, she ran for Congress and fell short. That year, Democrats flipped all seven House seats in Orange County.

After the 2018 blue wave, however, Republicans recovered some of that lost ground. Kim and Michelle Steel, two of the first three Korean American women in Congress, were the only Republicans to flip Orange County seats in 2020.

“It says a lot about how the times have changed,” Kim, whose campaign declined to make her available for an interview, told The New York Times after she won her 2020 race. “Our Republican Party has been very aggressive in recruiting quality candidates who happen to be women.”

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