Democrat Harley Rouda Beats Putin-Friendly GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher In California House Race
On Saturday, Democrat Harley Rouda was declared the winner over Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in a race for California’s 48th Congressional District, one of the most closely watched House elections of the year.
Rouda, a 56-year-old who is described on his campaign website as a “businessman, philanthropist, attorney and tech entrepreneur,” earned 52 percent of all votes, just 8,500 more than his opponent who received 48 percent of the vote.
Rohrabacher is a 15-term incumbent congressman known for his hardline, conservative stances on issues like gay marriage, as well as for his support of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his pro-Russia views. The 71-year-old has been serving in Congress since 1989.
Rouda claimed victory in the midterm race on Twitter early Saturday.
“After careful consideration of the data provided by the fantastic team at the Orange County Registrar, my staff and I are now confident that we have won the Congressional race in California’s 48th district,” he tweeted.
“Going forward, my mission is to be the absolute best kind of public servant – honest, transparent, accessible and tireless in serving the greater good,” Rouda added.
Rouda’s triumph is sure to give Democrats a major confidence boost, as Southern California’s 48th District is a highly Republican-leaning area within Orange County. Democrats picked up at least 30 seats in the chamber on Tuesday with 10 races still undecided.
In July, Rohrabacher confessed to meeting with Maria Butina — who was charged by the FBI over the summer for conspiracy and acting as a foreign agent — while traveling to Russia in 2015.
Support for GOP candidates has reportedly been gradually decreasing in Orange County in recent years. In 2016, Hillary Clinton became the first Democratic presidential nominee to win that region since the Great Depression.