Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) is struggling in his 16th campaign to serve in Congress, and now a huge dark money Republican group is abandoning him.
The Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), a super PAC affiliated with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), did not include Rohrabacher in their initial round of broadcast television advertising, according to the L.A. Times.
The decision, says the Times, “comes at a crucial inflection point in the midterm election when the two parties begin assessing their likely winners and losers.”
“Republican donors are smart folks,” Republican strategist Terry Sullivan told the Associated Press. “They’re not going to give money to a losing cause.”
Rohrabacher, it seems, is already being judged as a likely loser.
“Republicans are taking a cold-blooded look at races to decide where to put resources and where to withdraw resources to put somewhere else,” Stuart Rothenberg, a nonpartisan election analyst, told the Times.
Rohrabacher is currently locked in a tight race with Democratic challenger Harley Rouda. Rouda has trounced Rohrabacher in fundraising over the past six months, and election experts rate the race as either a toss-up or they give a slight edge to Rouda.
Rohrabacher’s struggles include numerous instances of him defending Russia and Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Rohrabacher has gone so far in defending Russia that he called American intelligence agencies liars.
Rohrabacher embraced wild conspiracy theories about the hacking in the 2016 election and repeatedly refused to accept the truth that Russia interfered in order to help Trump and hurt Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
He also dined multiple times with an alleged Russian spy. When confronted about the entanglements, Rohrabacher ranted about “deep state” conspiracies, but did not deny meeting with her on several occasions.
In addition to Rohrabacher’s fringe pro-Russia views, his votes on health care issues aligned with unpopular GOP goals. He voted multiple times to get rid of protections for people with pre-existing conditions, one of the most popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act. His vote also would have implemented an “age tax,” according to the AARP, drastically increasing health care costs for people aged 50-64.
Democrats are seeking to gain a net total of 23 seats in the midterm election in order to regain control of the House of Representatives.
If Republicans continue to abandon Rohrabacher, Democrats could be one seat closer to their goal.