If Democrats have any chance of capturing the 24 Republican seats they need to take back control of the House, the road to victory starts here in California, and particularly in Orange County, a former conservative bastion that favored Hillary Clinton in 2016. It was the first time the county had voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936.

All 14 members of the California Republican congressional delegation voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, including seven who, like [Representative Darrell] Issa, represent districts that voted for Mrs. Clinton. Four of those come from districts that include Orange County.

With its changing demographics and its declining Republican Party, California has increasingly loomed as the center of any national battle for House control. The Trump fervor this year offers an opportunity for Democrats to make the sort of congressional district gains that have eluded them even as they have come to dominate state politics over the last decade.

At least for one election, it seems, there will be a role reversal: The state that has long served mostly as just an A.T.M. for candidates from across the nation will be on the receiving end of campaign cash.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, in an early show of force, is opening an office in Irvine. The committee’s western director, Kyle Layman, is already on the scene, working at a cafe table outside a Whole Foods Market in Tustin until a lease is signed.



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