“Fundraising is an outgrowth of intensity,” says Republican consultant Ken Spain. If that’s the case, there is a tidal wave of intensity brewing for Orange County Democrats, according to the latest fundraising numbers for California’s 45th Congressional District.
Four Democrats, all seeking to boot incumbent congresswoman Mimi Walters (R-Irvine), have so far raised more than $3.7 million. Walters trails their combined total by roughly $1.5 million, raising only $2.2 million.
Two Democrats, Brain Forde and Katie Porter, have each raised more than $1 million as they race toward the June 5 primary. Dave Min, who won the endorsement of the California Democratic Party, is close behind, with $899,000 raised thus far. And Kia Hamadanchy has pulled in $573,000.
Democratic fundraising prowess in Orange County is part of a larger national trend spelling trouble for Republicans across the country. “The fundraising totals are just the latest indicator of a November nightmare developing for Republicans,” says Politico, describing the situation as “a toxic stew of poor presidential popularity, intense Democratic enthusiasm, and a chunk of incumbents whose FEC disclosures show they don’t understand how much trouble they could be in for in this political environment.”
“It’s inexcusable for an incumbent to be outraised,” said Corry Bliss, executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), a super PAC closely associated with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI).
Bliss offered no excuse for why Walters was outraised by multiple Democrats at the end of 2017, but his group is still pledging more than $2 million in television ads to boost Walters’ flagging campaign.
“Over the years, too many members have gotten increasingly reliant on third parties and outside groups to save them, and less dependent on themselves, and that’s a problem,” says Republican consultant Chris LaCivita.
A Democratic spokesperson was more blunt: “Vulnerable California Republicans are looking for Paul Ryan to ride in on a white horse to try to defend their record of raising taxes on working California families and fighting to rip away their healthcare,” said the DCCC’s Drew Godinich.
Polling in Orange County show Walters on the opposite side as her constituents on a multitude of issues, including health care and taxes. Walters voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and her voted on subsequent legislation are resulting in skyrocketing health care premiums. Californians face premium hikes of up to 30 percent next year, and taxes on Orange County homeowners are set to increase by up to $4,500 this year.
Her shaky fundraising is just another warning sign, possibly foreshadowing a blue wave in November that carries Democrats from California into the majority in the House of Representatives.