Tags: 2018 Midterm Elections | rohrabacher | california primary | harley rouda

Rep. Rohrabacher Takes Top Spot in Calif. Primary

Rep. Rohrabacher Takes Top Spot in Calif. Primary
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., in his office on Capitol Hill. (AP/Maria Danilova)

Wednesday, 06 June 2018 08:14 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Dana Rohrabacher, once considered a House Republican longshot, emerged the winner in the hotly contested California primary.

The 30-year incumbent congressman, a libertarian Republican and strong Trump supporter, topped a 16-candidate field in the 48th District (Coastal Orange County) with an unexpected 30 percent of the vote.

In November, Rohrabacher will face Democratic businessman Harley Rouda. Rouda squeeked past fellow Democrat Hans Keirstead with just 73 votes as of Wednesday morning.  Both had 17 percent of the vote. Republican Scott Baugh was behind them at 16 percent.

Under the Golden State’s electoral system, all candidates regardless of party compete on the same ballot in June and the top two-votegetters meet in a runoff in November.

Clearly, the big losers in Tuesday’s contest were anti-Rohrabacher Republicans who had banked their hopes with fourth-place finisher former Orange County GOP Chairman Baugh.

Long considered an eventual successor to the House seat when and if Rohrabacher, 69, retired, former state Assemblyman Baugh made his move this time with a campaign based on attacking the incumbent’s defense of Russia and Putin. Rohrabacher, who first met Putin when the Russian strongman was a municipal official in St. Petersburg in the 1990s, sees Russia as an ally of the West in the war against radical Islam.

Baugh was considered a strong prospect to make it in the runoff and, with Democratic support, to unseat Rohrabacher (who won his first term in 1988 after seven years as a speechwriter in the Reagan White House and, as he proudly recalled to Newsmax, “the one who wrote the most speeches for the President”).

“What they forgot is that Dana keeps in close touch with the district and is back in Orange County almost every weekend,” California’s GOP National Committeeman Shawn Steel, one of Rohrabacher’s closest allies, told me. “He takes any questions on Russia from reporters and constituents and, for the most part, his position on Russia is not an issue at home.”

Steel also pointed out that Rohrabacher’s fundraiser-wife Rhonda has an ongoing operation “that keeps his coffers full for any re-election fight Dana may face.”

Now, facing a liberal Democrat in one of the two most Republican-leaning congressional districts, Rohrabacher is in strong shape to win a 16th term.

Roharabacher was a strong Trump backer in 2016 in part because he felt the New Yorker shared his views on a warmer relationship with Moscow. He dismisses talk of Russia influencing the elections, saying, “we have tried to influence their elections and everybody’s elections.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.


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Dana Rohrabacher, once considered a House Republican longshot, emerged the winner in the hotly contested California primary.
rohrabacher, california primary, harley rouda
Wednesday, 06 June 2018 08:14 AM
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