Democratic enthusiasm and the retirements of two of her Orange County colleagues puts Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) in increasing electoral danger, according to a new ranking of competitive House seats from the L.A. Times.
Walters finds herself in the fifth most competitive seat, up two spots from her previous ranking. Her votes to repeal Obamacare and in support of the unpopular GOP tax bill are noted as “key votes” in the analysis, and for good reason.
Since Obamacare was signed into law in 2010, the number of uninsured has dropped by 20 million people. In California, the uninsured rate dropped from 17 percent in 2013 to a historic low of 6.8 percent as of June 2017.
Walters joined with Republicans like Speaker Paul Ryan in efforts to dismantle the law, even though close to 60 percent of Californians supported it. She voted for repeal bill that would eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
The bill sought to allow “insurance companies to charge people between the ages of 50 and 64 (those too young for Medicare) five times what they can charge younger consumers,” according to the AARP, which called this provision an “unfair and unacceptable ‘age tax.'” That bill would have caused more than 20 million people to lose health insurance, and cause premiums to increase for millions more.
When that effort failed, Walters supported provisions in the GOP tax bill which are causing health care premiums to skyrocket by up to 30 percent next year.
And the health care provisions aren’t the only unpopular aspect of the Republican tax bill. That bill will raise taxes on millions of Californians. In fact, a recent analysis shows homeowners in Orange County will see a tax hike of up to $4,500 in 2018.
While working-class Californians are paying higher taxes so multinational corporations can reward Wall Street investors with massive stock buybacks.
The new ranking is part of a string of bad news for Walters. Last week, Walters was outed for having used Cambridge Analytica, the scandal-plagued company accused of misusing Facebook data and shady election practices. Earlier in March, a poll came out showing voters looking to oust Walters. Another poll shows Republicans in swing districts, like Walters, badly trailing Democratic opponents.
Combined with lackluster fundraising efforts and a surge of Democrat voters registering in her district, it is no wonder Walters is seen as increasingly vulnerable.
Two open seats, vacated by Reps. Darrell Issa and Ed Royce, as well as Reps. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) are ranked as more competitive. A blue wave in November could see these five California Republicans, and maybe more, swept out of office.