Check out the website:  Look at the recent Political Notes and Len’s Letters on the website.  Political Note #355 Angie Craig MN 02, Political Note #356 Susie Lee NV 03, Political Note #357 Haley Stevens MI 11, Political Note #362 Vicente Gonzalez, Political Note #363 Tom Malinowski NJ 07, Political Note #375 Steven Horsford NV 04, Political Note #376 Lauren Underwood IL 14, Political Note #377 Lizzie Fletcher TX 07, Political Note #378 Elissa Slotkin MI 08,  Political Note #382 Melanie Stansbury NM 1 Special Election scheduled for June 1, 2021

Political Note #383    Harley Rouda CA 48

2022                              General Election

Republicans think that 2022 will be automatic.  The party out of power (almost) always gains seats in the House of Representatives.  Democratic weakness in the House races in 2020 is a sign that Republicans are coming back.  What fundraising they lose from large corporations, they make up with small donations from Trump supporters. Republicans are ahead of their fundraising schedule from 2020.

Do not acquiesce in that narrative.  Democrats have candidates who believe 2022 will be their year, a Democratic year.  So far, in 2021, these Notes have focused on defending Democratic incumbents.  That’s not from a belief that 2022 will be a Republican year.  It is because where there is no Democratic incumbent, we only know who the Democratic candidate will be when there is an 800 pound gorilla.

In some districts, A Democratic candidate is so dominant he or she might not have a primary opponent. If he or she has a primary opponent, the opponent is not a serious one.  Harley Rouda https://harleyforcongress.comconceded that he lost the 2020 election on November 10, 2020.  As he conceded, he announced his candidacy for 2022. Harley Rouda qualifies as an 800 pound gorilla.  And he is back.

In 2018 Harley Rouda defeated one of the worst Republican Members of Congress – Dana Rohrabacher.  Originally elected in 1988, Rohrabacher won easily in then deeply Republican Orange County, California.  By 2018, when he was defeated 54-46 by Harley Rouda, Rohrabacher had earned a reputation for representing Moscow.

Rohrabacher developed a friendship in the 1990s with KGB agent and then Deputy Mayor of Moscow Vladimir Putin.  He became friendly with other Russians including Putin ally, banker Aleksander Torshin.  By 2008, Rohrabacher was taking Russia’s side in the Georgia-Russia war.  Early in the next decade, he supported a kind of dismemberment of Pakistan, urging self-determination for the Baluchs of Baluchistan.  Defending himself, he explained that if a majority of Alaskans wanted to be part of Russia it would be OK with him.

Rohrabacher’s Russian friendship kicked into a new gear in 2016.  An aide returned from a Russia trip with information that the aide thought was incriminating about Democrats.  This was information to be shared with the Trump campaign.  By the time that Donald Trump was President, Rohrabacher was attempting to prove, based on statements from Julian Assange, that murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich was the source of DNC leaks, not Russian intelligence.

Harley Rouda’s defeat of Dana Rohrabach in 2018 was a patriotic act.  If Harley Rouda can defeat Michelle Park Steel in 2022, it would be almost as sweet.  Steel undermines American interests and values, but (I’ll giver her this) she is not aligned with Russia.  Steel is one of four Korean-Americans in Congress (2 Democrats and 2 Republicans). She is rigidly conservative.  She is aligned with Donald Trump.  She was the only office holder to greet Trump when he landed in Los Angeles for a visit to California.  During the pandemic, she opposed mask requirements for retail workers and for those in schools because she doubted their usefulness. She is opposed to abortion, same sex marriage, and a pathway to citizenship for any undocumented immigrants.

In 2022, she will have to defend her votes and her failure to vote. She tested positive for Covid-19 on June 6 and did not vote on the electoral college results, not even by proxy. She voted against Donald Trump’s second impeachment and against every one of Joe Biden’s initiatives that has come before Congress so far.   Harley Rouda is already attacking those votes as he asks as he campaigns: Which of the following did Michelle Steele vote for?  a) The Equality Act, b) The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, c) The American Rescue Plan, d) The Bipartisan Background Checks Act, or the right answer e) None of the Above.

Steel’s political views are part of her family life.  He husband has been a Republican National Committeeman and was once head of California’s Republican party.  When her younger daughter expressed support for Barack Obama and for same-sex marriage, the Steels pulled their daughter out of the University of California at Santa Cruz and sent her to Loyola Marymount for a “brainwash.”

Harley Rouda has avoided brainwashing.  Raised as a Republican in Columbus, Ohio, he got his BA from the University of Kentucky.  He returned to Columbus for his MBA at Ohio State and his law degree at Capital University.  He practiced law with a business-oriented firm in Columbus, then joined the family business in 1990 – HER Real Estate which now has offices in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and more than a thousand other communities throughout Ohio and northern Kentucky.  Harley Rouda become general Counsel in 1997.  Ten years later, in 2007, he sold the business and got ready to move to California.

You’d think that if he was going to go into politics, Harley Rouda could have done that in Ohio.  His friend John Kasich did.  Harley Rouda gave money to Kasich’s presidential campaign in 2016.  But Harley Rouda had been changing his life.  After he sold the family business to a conglomerate, he moved to Orange County, California – his wife’s home.  They fit right in.  He was no more political in California than he had been in Ohio.  He didn’t register for a political party in California when he moved.

2016 was a watershed.  Enormous numbers of women in American were moved to get involved in politics as a result of Donald Trump’s Election as President.  Harley Rouda joined them.  He registered as a Democrat and contemplated a political future.

A wealthy man, he started in politics at a high level.  He targeted Rohrabacher and his Russian ties.  He favored Medicare for All, a $15 per hour minimum wage, free tuition to public colleges.  He attracted a lot of money including a $4 million to commitment from Mike Bloomberg to a PAC supporting Harley Rouda.  He defeated Rohrabacher convincingly in 2018, but lost narrowly to Steel in 2020.

If anything, Harley Rouda is more determined to win in 2022. He has added addressing the Climate Crisis to his portfolio after chairing a subcommittee on the environment while he was in Congress.  Join him in his efforts.  Democrats need to expand their small margin in the House of Representatives.  They need to defy the Republican assumption that they will take the House in 2022.  If Joe Biden’s Democratic agenda is to go forward, much of it will have to be achieved in the second two years of his Presidency.  He’ll need a convincingly Democratic House and a Senate that is more than marginally Democratic.  You can help make this happen by sending some support to Harley Rouda.  Your support will be valuable even if you don’t emulate Mike Bloomberg and spend $4 million on Harley Rouda’s campaign.


Members of Congress who won in 2020 with less than 51% of the vote

 Iowa 03          Cynthia Axne  Received 48.9% of the vote in 2020

Illinois 14      Lauren Underwood Received 50.67% of the vote in 2020

Michigan 08 Elissa Slotkin Received 50.88% of the vote in 2020

Michigan 11 Haley Stevens  Received 50.2% of the vote in 2020

Minnesota 02 Angie Craig Received 48.21% of the vote in 2020

Nevada 03 Susie Lee Received 48.75% of the vote in 2020

Nevada 04 Steve Horsford Received 50.67% of the vote in 2020

New Jersey 07 Tom Malinowski Received 50.61% of the vote in 2020

Texas 07 Lizzie Fletcher Received 50.79% of the vote in 2020

Texas 15 Vicente Gonzalez Received 50.5% of the vote in 2020

Organizations to support

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)

The Democratic National Committee (DNC).  The official organization of the Democratic Party.

Fair Fight Promotes fair elections around the country

Another Special Election Coming Up

The TX 06 multi-party primary was on May and did not go well.  Two Republicans made the run off, shutting out the Democrats.  That was a missed opportunity to flip a Republican seat.  Let’s make certain we succeed in defending a potentially vulnerable New Mexico seat.  Melanie Stansbury is the Democratic candidate for NM 01 to replace Deb Haaland who became Secretary of the Interior. The election is June 1 Help her if you can. Help her now.  We need her to succeed.

A Special Interest of Mine

New York City has its own small-town politics.   Many of the readers of Lenspoliticalnotes are New Yorkers.  Some may live in or know people in Part A of Assembly District 76 (roughly east of 3rd Avenue and south of 79th Street to and including Roosevelt Island).

If you live in Part A of State Assembly District 76 in New York, please support and vote for Rebecca Weintraub in the June 22 Democratic Primary.   If you know people who live in Part A of Assembly District 76, please encourage them to vote for her.

Our club and the other Democratic Club in District 76 are supporting Rebecca Weintraub’s candidacy to be one of four District Leaders of the 76th Assembly District — the female leader of Part A of Assembly District 76.  District Leaders are a kind of liaison between political parties and the community.

You can learn more about Rebecca Weintraub at her Website or at Twitter @RSWinNYC or at Instagram RSW_in_NYC or at Facebook VoteRebeccaWeintraub.  In her non-political life, she is Vice President of a public relations firm, mother of Benjamin, and wife of Evan.  In her political life, she has been an active member of our club, a leader in an innovative effort collecting video responses from NYC candidates for public office used to assess who to endorse and who to vote for.