The effects of Rep. Katie Porter’s decision to run for U.S. Senate next year continue to ripple across the Orange County political landscape, as former Democrat Rep. Harley Rouda this morning announced his intention to run for the now open 47th Congressional District.
Porter officially announced her Senate candidacy yesterday morning. That prompted Republican Scott Baugh, who has planning to challenge her again in 2024, to accelerate his own candidate announcement.
Speculation has been rampant on which Democrats would jump in to the CA47 race following Porter’s exit, much of it centering on Rouda, who served a single term in Congress representing the old 48th Congressional District.
Approximately half of the old CA48 overlaps with the current CA47, in which voters’ party registration breakdown is 35.6% Democrat, 33.9% Republican and 24.5% No Party Preference.
Rouda finished second in the hotly contested June 2018 primary, edging out Democrat Hans Kierstead and narrowly defeating 30-year incumbent Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in 2018 – a watershed election in which Democrats swept every Orange County congressional election. Baugh also ran that year and narrowly missed his objective to making it into a Republican v. Republican general election contest between himself and Rohrabacher.
Rouda was defeated in 2020 by Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel, a Republican.
The former businessman and former Republican has worked to cultivate an image as a moderate. As the Democrat Party’s ideological center-of-gravity continues moving leftward, it remains to be seen whether a candidate with more progressive-Left bona fides also jumps in to the race.