Flipping seats in Southern California is key to Democratic efforts to re-take the House of Representatives this fall.
And retirements and incumbents loyal to an increasingly unpopular Donald Trump are giving Democrats reasons to be hopeful.
In a new analysis from the L.A. Times, three Southern California Republicans top the list of most vulnerable incumbents in the whole of California: Reps. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa), and Mimi Walters (R-Irvine).
Knight is considered the most vulnerable, due to changing demographics and his close ties to Trump. (For more on Knight’s number one spot, see this previous SoCal Daily Media article.)
Following Knight, Russia’s favorite congressman is the most likely to see a voter-induced retirement. According to the L.A. Times, Rohrabacher’s “affinity for Russia and his questionable relationships with figures involved in the various Russia investigations have become prominent news, raising his profile in his district.” Additionally, the article notes that Rohrabacher’s fundraising has been weak.
Despite the fact that nearly two out of three Californians disapprove of Trump, Rohrabacher has no qualms publicly embracing him.
In 2017, Rohrabacher paid more than $10,000 to hold a fundraising event at Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel, prompting him to be included in a report by Public Citizen on “array of interest groups trying to cozy up to Trump by spending money at his properties.”
With weak fundraising, a highly-questionable relationship to Russia, and running in a district that Hillary Clinton won in 2016, Rohrabacher’s ties to Trump help solidify his position as a top Democratic target.
Another Orange County Republican rounds out the top three endangered incumbents. Walters “has been dogged by energized activists who want her to appear at town hall meetings,” and has a long list of Democrats who are eager to more faithfully represent a changing district.
Walters’s support for Trump’s agenda goes directly against her district’s support of Hillary Clinton.
While most Californians overwhelmingly oppose more offshore drilling, Walters is on the front line encouraging the Trump team to go for it.
Walters clearly cares more about proving her loyalty to Donald Trump than representing the views of her constituents, earning her spot as a vulnerable incumbent.
The road to a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives runs through Southern California. With a clear allegiance to Trump, it is no wonder Knight, Rohrabacher, and Walters are prime 2018 targets.