2018         General Election         Elected 53 — 47

Talk about a toss up –

Harley Rouda https://harleyforcongress.com/ won his primary by 125 votes.  This was not a conventional primary.  It was a California primary where voters choose among all candidates and the top two are in a run off.  Rouda’s victory was to come in second.  The run off will be the election on November 6. 

The top vote-getter was Dana Rohrabacher, the incumbent Republican congressman. Rohrabacher could be a stand in for President Trump.  Politico describes Rohrabacher as Putin’s favorite Congressman.  Rohrabacher was strongly anti-Soviet, even claims he fought in Afghanistan and many years ago, while not altogether sober, attempted to arm-wrestle Putin. 

His pro-Russia and pro-Putin position precedes the Trump Presidency.  Rohrabacher’s position is characterized by his opposition to the Magnitsky Act.  Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian tax accountant who worked for an American investor and was murdered in prison after the Russians convicted him of a tax fraud. Magnitsky actually had exposed the tax fraud as having been committed by Russian tax officials.  The Magnitsky Act, passed in 2012, sanctions Russians involved in the conviction and murder.

During his 30 year tenure in Congress, Rohrabacher has been out of the mainstream in a variety of ways. One non-California newspaper reported: “Rohrabacher…once said climate change could be caused by ‘dinosaur flatulence,’ voiced support for new oil wells along the West Coast and recently prompted the National Association of Realtors to rescind its endorsement of him after he said homeowners shouldn’t have to sell their houses to gays or lesbians.”

Rohrabacher was also one of the Congressmen duped by Sacha Baron Cohen into supporting “Kinderguardians” — a fake initiative of a fake Israeli Mossad persona to combat gun violence in schools by arming young children. 

Despite his unusual positions Rohrabacher, this contest is generally considered a toss up.  CA 48 is a district which supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, but has more registered Republicans than registered Democrats.

The DCCC got involved in the California primaries.  It endorsed candidates for Congress before the primaries in order to ensure that at least one Democrat made it through to the run off.  As it turned out, the second and third place candidates were Democrats.  The fourth place finisher, a Republican and family friend of Rohrabacher was only 2,500 votes behind.  He may have been recruited by Republicans as an attempt to keep a Democrat off the run off ballot.

Harley Rouda appealed to the DCCC.  This organization that supports Democratic candidates for Congress particularly likes candidates who bring money to the table.  They also appear to prefer moderate Democrats.  Harley Rouda both brings money to the conversation and is a moderate. Son of a Columbus, Ohio real estate magnate, he is described by Bloomberg as the CEO of a real estate conglomerate that consolidated firms from Kentucky to northern Ohio.  He is also described as a former attorney who specialized in capital formation. 

.Harley Rouda brought a personal edge to the campaign.  He attacked his Democratic opponent for misrepresenting his endorsement by the California Democratic Party, for misstating the field in which he had earned a doctorate, for under-reporting his assets, and for over-reporting the amount for which he sold his business.  None were alarming revelations, but Harley Rouda made them seem alarming. He fought for every vote. He needed all but 124 of the votes he got. 

Harley Rouda faced tough opposition as well.  His opponent’s campaign distributed information about Rouda’s company’s loss in an age discrimination law suit.  That he had formerly been a Republican and had only recently changed his registration was a regular presence during the campaign.

Now that Harley Rouda is the Democratic candidate, it may be an advantage that he was formerly a Republican and donated money to John Kasich in opposition to Donald Trump in 2016. This is a suburban-type district that includes many Democrats and Republicans who find Trump distasteful.   The DCCC thought Harley Rouda would be the stronger candidate and they are probably right.

We know that Harley Rouda will run a campaign with an edge against an experienced Republican Congressman whose positions have made him vulnerable.  Can Harley Rouda appeal to enough Democrats?  Here are his political positions.  Consider their appeal.

  • We can enact sensible reforms to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people.  The 2nd amendment is not absolute and the NRA’s view of the 2nd amendment is extremist. 
  • Strengthen the economy by strengthening the middle class; close tax loopholes that benefit outdated industries and the wealthy.
  • Spend more on schools, less on prisons. Educate more, incarcerate less. Provide high quality education with access to technology for all, to early childhood education, and to affordable post-secondary education.
  • Protect the environment.  Oppose offshore oil drilling.  Support clean energy.
  • Strengthen ties with NATO, protect the Baltic nations from Russia. 
  • Equal rights for women, including the right to decisions about their bodies and their health.
  • Adjust, reform, improve, and expand the Affordable Care Act.
  • Provide legal protections to the members of the LGBTQ community.
  • Appreciate immigrants.  Keep families together while we protect our borders.
  • Hold Trump accountable for his actions;  Rohrabacher, too, the only Member of Congress known to be subject to Mueller’s investigation.
  • End Citizen’s United because unlimited spending undermines democracy.

Harley Rouda is not a Republican.  Not any more. California alone can take us more than a quarter of the way to gaining Democratic control of Congress.  Help Harley Rouda https://harleyforcongress.com/ be part of that achievement.  Even the wealthiest candidates need support from others.  Turn this district Blue.


A special election is coming up on August 7.  Pay attention to it.  Franklin County (Columbus, Ohio) Recorder Danny O’Connor  https://dannyoconnorforcongress.com/is running in a special election for the open 12th Congressional seat.  The most recent poll shows him behind by just a few points.  He has come up with a distinctive appeal as he asks for the resources he needs to close out the race and get to a majority.  He suggests that a Democratic victory would make Democratic defections in the battle over the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court less likely.  Whether that reasoning is persuasive or not, O’Connor’s race is close.  Money sent directly to his campaign can make a difference in getting out the vote and other late efforts. Consider some support.