Two Democrats are fighting to keep Katie Porter’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in Orange County blue

Left – Sen. Dave Min, D-Irvine, listens as lawmakers discuss a bill before the Senate at the Capitol in Sacramento, California, Monday, July 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli); Right – Joanna Weiss, who announced she would run for California’s 47th Congressional District in 2024. (Courtesy of Joanna Weiss for Congress)
(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli; courtesy of Joanna Weiss for Congress)

Two Democrats are fighting to keep Katie Porter’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in Orange County blue

California Politics

Hanna Frits

January 30, 2024

Armed with a whiteboard and a penchant for questioning business leaders during congressional hearings, Katie Porter quickly emerged.


an apostle for the Democrats in Orange County.

But despite spending millions on her campaign and having a national profile, she remains


won re-election in 2022


a splinter. With Porter running for Senate, two top Democrats, Sens. Dave Min and Joanna Weiss, have emerged to take on former GOP Assemblyman Scott Baugh in 2024.

For Democrats, both in Orange County and nationally, the stakes are high. The 47th Congressional District is one of four Orange County-based districts expected to be among the most competitive in the 2024 elections as Republicans and Democrats battle for control of the House of Representatives.

“If Democrats can’t fill this seat, they have no hope of winning the majority in the House of Representatives, because demographically this is exactly the kind of district that will end up in the Democrats’ coalition,” said David Wasserman, forecaster in Congress for the nonpartisan Cook Political. Report.

In Porter’s district, which includes much of coastal Orange County and Irvine, Democrats have a slight advantage in voter registration, but it is close enough to be a prime target for Republicans in 2024.

Orange County’s transformation into a more culturally and economically diverse area has turned the place where Ronald Reagan once said “the good Republicans go before they die” into a political battleground.

In 2018, Democrats, including Porter, flipped four congressional districts in what they celebrated as a “blue wave.” Republicans won back two of those seats in 2020. The 2022 midterm elections were a stalemate.

“Neither Dave Min nor Joanna Weiss are the Katie Porter phenomenon, not in their personalities, and not in their ability to raise money. And so it’s going to take a lot of resources on the national chessboard coming from Democrats to be competitive,” said Jon Fleischman, a former GOP executive director and political strategist.

For months, Democrats debated which candidate has the best chance of finishing in the top two in the March primaries and defeating Baugh in the November election.

Min’s supporters cite his appeal to Asian Americans, an influential group of swing voters, his support from police unions and his legislative record in support of abortion rights, gun control and environmental protection positions that are expected to draw Democrats to the polls.

Weiss has drawn strong support from anti-Trump suburban women who argue she is the stronger candidate on progressive issues such as abortion and focuses on economic and environmental issues critical to Orange County voters. The support of both groups is expected to be critical to keeping a Democrat in the seat.

Min argues that most female voters over 30, who view abortion as a top issue, are already aligned with Democrats


noting “that’s not a deciding vote at this point.”

Both candidates have spent time and money appealing to Democrats by highlighting their progressive agendas. Min has raised about $1.2 million this cycle, while Weiss has $1.2 million, including $225,000 she

lent out

her campaign. The candidates have about $825,000 and $832,000 in cash on hand, respectively, according to campaign finance reports filed in September.

Min, who has received endorsements from the California Democratic Party and Porter, sent a mailer to voters this month, among other things

me me

ndependents, citing his record on protecting abortion rights, and pushing for stricter gun laws and legislation he authored in an effort to end offshore drilling.

“Those who know CA-47 best… have overwhelmingly supported Dave Min because of his record of winning tough elections and standing up for Orange County values, including defending reproductive rights, advocating for stricter gun laws, working to end offshore oil drilling and fighting to protect survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence,” Min campaign manager Dan Driscoll said in a statement to The Times.

Early this month, he dropped his first ad in the race, a six-figure video buy that will appear on digital and cable platforms with the title “United” and the message that “California Democrats are united behind one candidate: Dave Min .’

Weiss, who founded Women for American Values ​​and Ethics (WAVE), a fundraising and volunteer organization that aims to advance progressive candidates, has received support from several California representatives, including Linda Sanchez (D-Whittier) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Whittier). San Jose), a close ally of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco).

Weiss’ campaign has been announced


Min’s 2023 DUI arrest as a critical weakness that Baugh could exploit in the general election. Min was arrested last May and charged with




driving under the influence after a California Highway Patrol officer saw him run a red light while driving a state car just miles from the Capitol.

He apologized and said he accepted “full responsibility” and that there was “no excuse” for his actions. Just hours after news of Min’s arrest broke, the Republican Party of California distributed an email calling him DUI Dave and saying he had endangered lives when he made the reckless decision to drive drunk .

Min’s arrest was enough to sway Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley. Foley, a Democrat,





“There is no reason to drive drunk. That is poor judgment and that is concerning,” she said. “This will be used by the Republicans. They will use it against him and he won’t be able to win the general.”

The battle took a tense turn Thursday when Weiss’ campaign released an ad criticizing Min for allegedly taking money from special interests and for his drunk driving. The ad featured dashcam footage from the police patrol car

that witch

showed Min waving as the officer conducts a field sobriety test.

It is important that voters in our community understand their choice in this election. Dave Min cannot be trusted and he is a huge liability for Democrats in this must-win race to flip the House of Representatives, Weiss campaign manager Emma Weinert said.

Min responded by noting on X, formerly Twitter, that “it’s so disappointing to see Joanna Weiss running such a negative campaign.”

Min’s camp claims that Weiss, a prime candidate, doesn’t have the name recognition needed

to win

looking for a competition seat.

Questions have also been raised about the source of money Weiss has used to support her campaign. An article published this month by the Daily Beast suggests that the resources Weiss has poured into the campaign include income from her husband Jason Weiss, who specializes in employment law at the firm Sheppard Mullin and the Roman Catholic diocese The Dutch team has defended sexual abuse. lawsuits.

Weiss called the story “a desperate attack.”

“I’m the one

number one No. 1

female fundraiser in the country who is not an incumbent in the 2024 cycle,” she said. “I think the article wrongly tried to highlight the alleged self-financing, but we have had guys who completely self-financed their campaigns here in Orange. County and no one asked them where their money came from.”



Min and Weiss are battling it out, Baugh is trying to sway voters and has amassed a $1.5 million war chest, according to campaign finance revelations.

For Baugh, the current landscape appears much more favorable to Republicans than it did in 2022, when he ran against Porter, a sitting president who spent his millions. For now, Min and Weiss are spending their money fighting each other.

“Whoever comes out of the primary is going to be a little bit broken, a little bit bloodied,” Baugh said.


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