Democratic challengers to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) ended 2017 with a second straight fundraising period out-raising the embattled incumbent.
Rohrabacher’s unimpressive fundraising totals could indicate a lack of enthusiasm, and certainly boosts the hopes of Democrats seeking to oust the long-term congressman.
Rohrabacher raised only $272,000 during the last three months of 2017, according to the L.A. Times, which is “significantly less” than the reported totals of two of his Democratic opponents, Hans Keirstead and Harley Rouda.
Together, Keristead and Rouda raised slightly more than $1 million, showing a significant enthusiasm gap in a congressional district Democrats are eyeing to help them retake the House of Representatives in November.
Rohrabacher enters what might be the most difficult race of his career facing a slew of controversies related to his deep ties to Vladimir Putin and Russia.
His ties are so troubling that his own Republican colleagues curtailed his authority as chairman of a congressional subcommittee with jurisdiction over U.S.-Russia policy. Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, has also taken a keen interest in Rohrabacher’s activities.
An ethical watchdog group reprimanded the congressman for seeming to “pay tribute” to Trump when he hosted a fundraiser at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Despite representing a district that supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, Rohrabacher has made no attempts to hide his affection for Trump. Trump’s approval rating hovers around 29 percent in California, and even heavily Republican Orange County has soured on Trump over the past year, with nearly six in ten disapproving of him.
Yet Rohrabacher continues to regularly praise Trump, as he did after Trump’s divisive State of the Union address.
November is fast approaching. A combination of controversy, lackluster fundraising by Rohrabacher, and Democratic enthusiasm could spell the end of Rohrabacher’s congressional career.