Democrat real estate investor Harley Rouda (above, left) will challenge incumbent Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher in Orange County’s 48th congressional district after his opponent, fellow Democrat and stem-cell researcher Hans Keirstead, conceded the second-place spot to him nearly three weeks after the June 5 primary.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) spent millions in the 48th congressional district, including $400,000 on ads backing Rouda.
Rohrabacher, who will serve his 16th term in Congress if he emerges as the victor during the November general election, reportedly received 30 percent of the vote in the June 5 primary. He was competing against eight Democrats, six Republicans, one Libertarian, and one independent candidate. Democrats Rouda and Keirstead each win a little over 17 percent of the vote, and Republican Scott Baugh just barely missed the cut with 16 percent.
According to LAist, Keirstead congratulated Rouda for his win on Sunday and pledged to support him. “We need change in Washington and a focus on innovative solutions to improve lives,” Keirstead reportedly wrote in a statement. “I’ll continue that work, just not as a candidate in November.”
Rohrabacher is one of several Republicans being targeted by the Democrats as they seek to regain control of the GOP-dominated House of Representatives.
He has made charges of “Russia collusion” a centerpiece of his campaign. Democrats nationwide are preoccupied with the idea that the Trump presidential campaign colluded with the Russian government, though no evidence has yet emerged to substantiate it.
The claim, however, has particular resonance in the 48th district, because Rohrabacher is one of the most pro-Russia members of the U.S. House.
Harley Rouda and Ted Lieu (Facebook)
Democrats have targeted seven key districts in California, including the 48th, where Hillary Clinton won a majority of the presidential vote despite Republicans holding congressional seats.
Republicans have also targeted several Democrats in key California districts. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC)’s “top offensive targets” in the state are Reps. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove, 7th district), Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara, 24th district), Scott Peters (D-San Diego, 52nd district) and Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Springs, 36th district).