Orange County was Nixon and Reagan country for decades. Only in the last half-dozen cycles or so has it turned blue. That change is in no small part due to Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), a fundraising powerhouse. But in 2022, even with $30 million, she barely won. Now that she is running for the Senate, she is leaving an open seat behind in CA-47. That is a D+3 district which runs from just outside Seal Beach down the coast to Laguna Niguel and inland to Irvine and on to the Santa Ana Freeway. Here it is:
The big issue is whether any Democrat can raise that kind of cash and if not, whether they can win without it. As you know, every House seat counts this time.
Two Democrats are running in the primary, Dave Min and Joanna Weiss. Min, a Korean American, ran for the seat in 2018 against Porter and she won. But Min got enough publicity that he was able to run for and win a seat in the state Senate in 2020. Now he is trying again for the U.S. House seat he didn't get in 2018.
Weiss is a lawyer, community organizer, and abortion-rights activist. She has done pro bono work for survivors of domestic violence and the ACLU, the Anti-Defamation League, and other groups have presented her with awards for her work.
An event that has nothing to do with their political positions is dominating the campaign. Min ran a red light and was arrested for drunken driving. In a state car. That is definitely not going to help. Some Democrats say the incident calls his judgment into doubt and he should drop out. But the Asian-American community wants an Asian-American to represent them. On the other hand, Weiss lives about 10 miles outside the district. Representatives do not have to live in their district, but voters often prefer it.
The Republican candidate is Scott Baugh, who ran against Porter in 2022 and lost. He is trying again, only this time without Porter. However, he opposed abortion then and still does. That is not a winning issue these days. It will be a real barn burner and could determine control of the House. (V)