Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) is running for the U.S. Senate and thus leaving behind an open House seat in CA-47. The district runs along the California coast south of Long Beach, from Seal Beach to Dana Point, and inland to beyond Irvine. It covers much of Orange County. The PVI is D+3, making it a highly competitive district.
Ten people have filed in the all-party March 5 primary. Former Assemblyman Scott Baugh (R) will get most of the Republican votes and will probably come in first. The battle for second place—and thus a position on the November ballot—is between two Democrats, state Sen. Dave Min and Joanna Weiss. She is co-founder of a progressive nonprofit focused on reproductive rights and gun control.
The campaign has gotten dirty. Min has accused Weiss of powering her campaign with money her husband made defending Catholic priests found guilty of molesting children in Orange County. Of course, this leaves out the detail that the priests weren't legally guilty until the trial concluded and even people who are accused of heinous crimes have a constitutional right to counsel. And it was the husband who supposedly defended the priests, not the candidate.
Weiss' ads claim that her husband didn't defend the priests but did other legal work for the diocese. Also, it wasn't that lucrative and he didn't make millions on it. She noted that her husband has never represented any priests in his entire career.
But Weiss is not just playing defense. She is loudly proclaiming that Min is not fit to be in Congress because last May he attended a night of receptions with lobbyists, drank too much, and was then arrested for drunk driving on the way home. He pleaded nolo contendere. Her ads say that if Min makes it to the general election, Baugh will make the whole campaign about his revelries with lobbyists and drunk driving arrest.
One thing Weiss has going for her is EMILY's List, a pro-choice group. They have made Weiss a top priority and are about to run a $1 million ad campaign for her on television and digitally. The DCCC is not taking sides here. (V)