About 35 protestors took to the streets of Huntington Beach this week to demonstrate against congressional Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who figured in two news developments this week that drew national attention.
The race for the 48thCongressional District between Rohrabacher and Democratic challenger Harley Rouda of Laguna Beach is virtually tied, according to poll results released this week by the Monmouth University in New Jersey.
Republican registration in the district that spans coastal Orange County from Seal Beach to Laguna Niguel favors the incumbent, but enthusiastic Democrats and divided voter opinion are making this a competitive race, the polling institute announced Tuesday, July 17.
This week, a spokesman for Rohrabacher confirmed that he led a congressional delegation to Moscow in 2015 where Maria Butina arranged a meeting with a senior Russian official. Federal prosecutors this week indicted Butina for conspiracy and acting as a foreign agent.
Also this week, Rohrabacher appeared in the Showtime series “Who is America,” agreeing to a phony proposal to arm students with weapons. “Maybe having young people trained to defend themselves in their schools might make us safer here,” Rohrabacher said in the segment where comedian Sacha Baron Cohen impersonated an Israeli proponent of arming young children and duped congressional leaders into reacting to the plan.
Rohrabacher posted a response on his website. “Cohen’s people apparently used footage from an interview I submitted to earlier this year for a bogus Israeli television company supposedly celebrating the country’s 70th anniversary. In that interview, which was not with Cohen, I spoke broadly of training young people at a responsible age in self-defense. At no time did I endorse training toddlers in handling guns. Nor was the idea even presented to me directly. If it had been, I would have rejected it. In school shootings, the standard response is ‘Run, hide, fight,’ in that order. My response was perfectly consistent with that. I love good satire, but good satire must reveal some basis in truth. This was fraud, a sick fraud at that, and its intention was to deceive the American people for political purposes.”
Even so, Rouda seized the opportunity to attack his opponent. “Orange County doesn’t need a Congressional representative who supports arming kids in school with guns,” he said in a statement.
In Huntington Beach, members of the SoCal Health Care Coalition, whose members are concerned about affordable health care, sandwiched gun control and Russian meddling into their weekly protest outside Rohrabacher’s field office this week, said John Vitzileos, who works with the coalition.
Among the protestors was Tyler S. Wong, a senior at Sage High School in Newport Beach. The 17-year-old organized a political action club on campus and volunteered to assist with pre-primary candidate debates organized by Indivisible 48, a progressive activist group.
He expressed dismay over Rohrabacher’s position on school shootings. “He did not know the intention of the video, but that he is still advocating arming students is ridiculous,” said Tyler. “It’s ridiculous he thinks that’s a solution.”