Rouda Candidacy Gains Momentum

Harley Rouda
Harley Rouda

Laguna Beach resident Harley Rouda has raised more than $100,000 from independent donors since declaring his candidacy earlier this month for California’s 48th Congressional District, which includes Laguna and Newport Beach, says a statement issued by his campaign.

“That’s a good start to raise that much in a relatively short time,” said Fran Sdao, the chair of the Democratic Party of Orange County. “I don’t know the details about where it came from at this time, but that will be public info in several weeks,” she added.

The Emerald Bay resident also picked up endorsements from Laguna Beach Mayor Toni Iseman, former California Attorney General Bill Lockyer and former Orange County Democratic Party Chair Frank Barbaro.

Rouda’s platform is clearly spelled out in a video entitled “Clean House” which will be shown “primarily on Facebook throughout the district,” Dave Jacobson, Rouda’s campaign strategist, said in an email.

The video opens with shots of the longtime Republican incumbent, Dana Rohrabacher, stating, “Macedonia is not a country,” that Syria’s president “Assad is not our enemy” and “neither is Russia our enemy.”

A voice over states that Rohrabacher has been in office for almost 30 years but that he promised he’d only serve two terms when he was elected.

On the Harley for Congress Facebook page, Rouda details his party registration over the years and disclosed his support for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

“I am a registered Democrat, but before that I was an independent, and before that, yes, I was a Republican,” he said on the post. “I shifted my party registration because, frankly, my views were far more in line with the Democratic Party on nearly every issue,” he said.

Rouda, who grew up in Ohio, said he contributed to Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s unsuccessful presidential run “because we have known the Kasichs for nearly 30 years, because they are personal friends — not because he is someone who I share a political ideology with — and because I wanted to stop Donald Trump and his divisive campaign.”

Rouda’s platform promises include supporting the appointment of an independent prosecutor to spearhead an investigation of any countries and individuals, including Russia, that may have been involved in influencing the U.S. election. He also supports investigating President Trump’s claims of wire-tapping and voter fraud.

Also on Rouda’s progressive agenda: recognizing and addressing global warming, protecting entitlement programs, working on immigration reform, providing better care for veterans, fighting against off- shore drilling, advancing equal pay, increasing the federal minimum wage, safeguarding funding for Planned Parenthood, allowing students to refinance their loans and fighting to end discrimination against minorities and the LGBTQ community.

He is also in favor of abolishing Citizen’s United, a court ruling favoring a conservative non-profit that loosened rules governing campaign finance, and fighting the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

“This may be a costly campaign and all candidates should be prepared to raise about $1 million to get their message out to voters in that district,” said Sdao. “Much will depend on how much financial assistance Rohrabacher gets from the GOP,” she added. Democratic candidates in 2018 races are not likely to receive support from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee unless they can raise $500,000 themselves by June, she said in an earlier interview.

Rohrabacher, of Huntington Beach, won re-election with 57 percent of the vote last November. The 48th Congressional District is one of 23 in the nation where voters split their votes in the last election, casting a majority of their ballots for the Democratic candidate in the presidential race, but the Republican running for the House of Representatives.

Democrat Boyd Lachlan Roberts, also of Laguna Beach, declared his candidacy to challenge Rohrabacher in February.

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