Competitive Orange County House races draw big money

Democratic House incumbents in Orange County are ramping up fundraising as they head into the 2020 election, according to financial reports posted this week with the Federal Election Commission. But a few Republican challengers raised nearly as much — or even more — in the second quarter of the year than the Congress members they’re trying to unseat.

The biggest local GOP haul for the quarter that started April 1 and ended June 30 came from Michelle Steel, who serves as a county supervisor and is challenging Rep. Harley Rouda, D-Laguna Beach, in the coastal 48th District.

Steel took in $536,023 in funds after entering the CA-48 race one month into the second quarter. But that does include $100,000 that Steel gave to her own campaign, with 80 percent of the remaining funds from individual donors. She had $516,928 in cash on hand. …

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Rouda defeats Rohrabacher in Southern California


FILE - In this July 17, 2007 file photo, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the Senate Judiciary hearing on the prosecution of Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos, two former Border Patrol agents imprisoned for shooting a drug smuggler in the backside as he sprinted toward Mexico. Rohrabacher's suggestion Friday, June 10, 2011, during a trip to Baghdad, that Iraq repay the United States for the money it has spent in the country has stirred anger, with an Iraqi lawmaker ridiculing the idea as "stupid" and others saying Iraqis should be compensated for the hardships they've endured. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Democrat Harley Rouda on Saturday claimed victory in the race for California’s 48th Congressional District, unseating 15-term incumbent Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in one of the most anticipated House contests of the 2018 election cycle.

Rouda’s victory is sure to energize Democrats, who’ve galvanized to flip several House seats in the traditionally heavily Republican enclave of Orange County in Southern California since 2016.

His win adds further padding to Democrats’ majority in the chamber after the party picked up 30 seats on Election Day, and it brings to a close the nearly three-decade tenure of the pro-Russia representative often referred to by critics as “Putin’s favorite congressman.”

Though ballots are still being counted, Saturday’s tally showed Rouda with 52 percent of the vote and about 8,500 more votes than Rohrabacher, according to the Associated Press. …

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5 toss-up California races could help determine which party wins House control

There are five critical toss-up House races in California, and as the election results map unfolds through the night, there is every chance that those races could be the ones that finally decide the balance of power in the House.

The five are all currently Republican-held, generally speaking in more conservative parts of California – one in the state’s Central Valley and four either entirely or partly in Orange County. But all of the five districts voted for Hillary Clinton over President Trump in the 2016 election, and that’s giving Democrats hope that they can flip all five.

Among the Republican incumbents most at risk is Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, looking for his 16th term, taking a hardline stance on immigration and getting a strong endorsement Monday from President Trump who tweeted, “Dana Rohrabacher has been a great Congressman for his District and for the people of Cal. He works hard and is respected by all – he produces! Dems are desperate to replace Dana by spending vast sums to elect a super liberal who is weak on Crime and bad for our Military & Vets!”

The Democrat to whom the president was referring is Harley Rouda, a real-estate investor who previously called for President Trump’s impeachment and accuses Rohrabacher of being a Trump ally out of touch with voters, saying, “We don’t need any more extremists in Congress like Dana Rohrabacher. We need moderates like myself.”

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