Yippy Eye O Kye A. There are seven Republican-held congressional districts in California in contention and four of them are in Orange County, more than any single county in the entire country and the Republicans are sweating bullets. Tuesday is the primary election and 23 is the magic number needed to flip the House blue. Wall Street Journal:
Since the last century, the Republican Party has won presidential elections without mounting a serious campaign in California, the nation’s most populous state. Now, state GOP officials are working just to stay on the political map.
“You can’t write it off by any means,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy the California Republican who is looking to succeed retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan. “And if we learn to win in California, we can win anywhere in the nation.”
McCarthy is absolutely right, if the Republicans can make it there, they’ll make it anywhere. The only problem is that Republicans are becoming an endangered species in California. This has been going on since the 90’s with “white flight” and the demise of the aerospace industry sending a lot of people packing, at the same time that there was an increase in Latinos living in Orange County. Also, there has been a surge in Democrats registering to vote. There are four million more registered Democrats than Republicans in the state, plus the Republicans hold only 14 of the 53-member House delegation, its smallest share in sixty years. And do not forget that Hillary Clinton carried Orange County in 2016, and the last Democrat who managed that was Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936.
“The Republican Party in California has been in free fall for the better part of a decade,’’ said Carl DeMaio, chair of the initiative to repeal the gas tax, which was passed last year to finance transportation infrastructure repairs.
Darrel Issa threw in the towel, thank God, and so did Ed Royce. Democratic contenders have a shot at those two seats. That leaves Mimi Walters in CA-45 and many people’s favorite Republican, Dana Rohrabacher, the “surf Nazi” as he’s called and also known as the Kremlin Congressman, the guy who arm wrested Vladimir Putin in a dive bar. Rohrabacher, by the by, issued a press release in November, 2016 saying that he was in contention for Secretary of State. He probably was, Trump definitely wanted somebody sympathetic to Russia. Now all that is coming back to haunt him.
In his district along the coast, Mr. Rohrabacher has come under attack for his involvement in controversial issues that seem far from the concerns of his constituents, including his defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin and support for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Local road signs tell voters: “SAY NO TO ROHRABACHER.”
Now, one caveat before you ice the champagne in anticipation of victory. There is a glut of Democrats in the race and if they split the votes sufficiently, the top two spots could go to Rohrabacher, who is leading in polls, and to Scott Baugh, his Republican contender, the former Republican head of the California Assembly and one of 15 challengers. Baugh is tied for second place with two Democrats, businessman Harley Rouda and scientist Hans Keirstead. Also, don’t count on the Russian connection to oust Rohrabacher, people in Orange County are more interested in health care, student loans, affordable housing, and offshore drilling. However, that doesn’t mean that Russia is a non issue, because even Baugh is using it against Rohrabacher. CNN:
Baugh released an ad last month — which ran locally on cable — knocking Rohrabacher for taking trips on taxpayers dime to promote Russia.__“And he’s taken 172 foreign trips on our taxpayer tab to promote marijuana and Russia,” the baritone narrator ominously said, with a picture of Putin prominently displayed on screen.
Rohrabacher isn’t helping his cause either bragging about arm wrestling and playing soccer with Putin. This old clip is being recycled.
“We started arguing about who won the Cold War. And so we decided to settle it like men do when they’ve had too much to drink in the pub. So we got to these arm wrestling matches, and I ended up being paired off with Putin,” Rohrabacher said during a 2013 interview with KPCC, a California public radio station. “He’s a little guy, but boy, I’ll tell ya. He put me down in a millisecond! He is tough. His muscles are just unbelievable.”
Scott Baugh is credited with the Wall Street Journal quote of the day:
“Orange County should be to the Republican party what Hollywood is to the Democratic Party,”
Ha. In your dreams, Scott Baugh. Hollywood is the 28th Congressional District and that is represented by Adam Schiff. CA-28 and CA-48 are two different worlds.
This is what Hans Kirstead said about the race to topple Rohrabacher:
“Republicans are actually demoralized with both Trump and Rohrabacher, and now they are seeing nothing but fighting between the two Republicans in the race,” he said during an interview at his Irvine-based biotechnology company, AiVita Biomedical. “You have a Republican base out here that is just tired.”
Let’s hope he’s right. Let’s also hope that the “jungle primary” system doesn’t yield two Republicans on the ticket and no Democrats. As usual, the answer to this key race and to every race; Get Out The Vote! If you are a Democrat in Orange County, California, or if you know someone who is, get that person to the polls tomorrow.