Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Democratic Recruiting-- Take Orange County


Katie Porter is running for Congress

Democratic voters need to be very careful about Republicans switching party registration and announcing their candidacy for high office. There are a few exception-- and I can't emphasize enough how few-- but no matter how "progressive-ish" they pretend to be during the election (especially primariues), once they get into Congress they almost always revert to what made them a lifelong Republican. There is not way to describe life-long Republican-turned-conservaDem Patrick Murphy's record in the House as anything short of repulsive and destructive-- and the DSCC and Wall Street couldn't wait to promote him to the Senate. In Nebraska, the DCCC wasted millions and millions of dollars-- dollars that could have been spent building two-cycle cases against Devin Nunes and Kevin McCarthy in California or, say, Paul Ryan in Wisconsin-- to elect and try (unsuccessfully of course) Republican Brad Ashford. Ashford immediately joined the Blue Dogs and managed to build a record that gave Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy chills down their legs. There were Republicans with more progressive voting records than Ashford! Today we have Republicans like Charlie Crist (FL) and Tom O'Halleran (AZ)-- to name just a couple-- calling themselves Democrats and voting with the GOP. As we showed yesterday, neither of these Republicans backs the Democratic Medicare for All bill and both have voting records that show them voting far more frequently with the GOP than with the Democrats on crucial roll calls.

Disgusting, right? But I'll tell you something more disgusting. The DCCC hired a hackish conservative staffer, Kyle Layman, who's running around recruiting conservative candidates, including (so far) at least one "ex"-Republican, Harley Rouda (who's running against Dana Rohrabacher in an Orange County district Hillary managed to beat-- barely: 47.9% to 46.2%-- Trump. It's a district the Democrats should be targeting... but not with a Republican opportunist who talks a good game and is likely to just be another Patrick Murphy, Brad Ashford, Tom O'Halleran or Charlie Crist, someone who's only function in Congress is to allow Ryand and McCarthy to call their poisonous agenda "bipartisan."

Just east of Rohrabacher's district is CA-45, another all-Orange County district (Irvine, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Villa Park, the Anaheim Hills). The PVI is R+7 and Obama lost both times-- with 47% against McCain and 43% against Romney. Trump lost though-- 49.8% to 44.4%. A combination of well-educated, well-off whites plus growing Asian and Hispanic populations-- respectively 21% and 19%-- was too much for Trump. But the conservative Republican incumbent, Mimi Walters, has never had a problem winning there. For one thing, the DCCC has never challenged her-- or her conservative Republican predecessor John Campbell. In 2016 she beat Ron Varasteh 171,736 (59%) to 119,521 (41%). He spent $42,761 to her $1,663,841. Varasteh says he plans on running again. But he isn't alone.

Combined with Hillary's success in the district and the excitement among Democrats at how poorly Trumpism is being viewed in suburban districts, there are two locals with worthwhile bona fides jumping in too-- an Elizabeth Warren protégé, a Sherrod Brown protégé (Kia Hamadanchy) and a Chuck Schumer protégé (David Min). Yesterday Martin Wisckol broke the news about Katie Porter's candidacy in the OC Register. Laguna Beach, where he reports Walters lives, is a gorgeous beachside community for wealthy white people. It isn't in her district and it isn't easy to get to her district from there. But it's certainly a lovely place to live when you're not in DC and it isn't illegal to live in another district than the one you claim to represent. Maybe voters want someone who lives in their own district though-- like Katie Porter.
Democrat Katie Porter, a prominent consumer advocate lawyer and UC Irvine professor, has announced she’ll challenge the 2018 reelection bid of Rep. Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Beach.

Porter is part of a growing wave of high-profile Democrats announcing challenges of Orange County Republican Congress members, all four of whom saw their districts favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump last year.

Porter, 43, has specialized in the abuses of home mortgage lenders and was appointed by then-Attorney General Kamala Harris to oversee California’s share of a $25 billion national mortgage settlement.

She has been endorsed by Harris and by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Porter studied with Warren at Harvard Law School and the two co-authored The Law of Debtors and Creditors.

“The powers in Washington have favored Wall Street banks over middle-class families,” Porter said. “I’ve spent my career fighting powerful interests. I’m running to take that fight to Washington.”

Porter is the first to declare her candidacy against Walters, but like Democratic candidates in other local districts, she is looking to link her GOP opponent closely to Trump.

She got a head start in that direction last week when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched online ads attacking Walters for supporting Republicans’ abandoned effort to replace Obamacare.

Walters voted for the measure in committee and was the sole Orange County Republican member of Congress to offer unequivocal support.

"The AHCA is a rare opportunity to provide Americans access to the low cost, high quality, patient-centered health care that they deserve,” Walters said before the measure was set aside. “This bill will lead to lower premiums, greater choice in coverage options and large reductions in the federal deficit.”

...“(Porter’s) been in the trenches with me fighting for families for nearly two decades and she’s gotten real results,” Warren said. “She’s fought relentlessly for important protections that safeguard consumers and force banks to give families a fair shake.

“There’s no one I trust more to take on Donald Trump and the entrenched special interests in Washington on behalf of working families.”
One of the country's most well-versed reporters on the foreclosure crisis is David Dayen, the first person to ever tell me about Katie. This morning he told me that she "took what was really a thankless job, monitoring a not very good foreclosure fraud settlement, and turned it into something worthwhile. It reminds me of what Elizabeth Warren did with the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP. Katie got personally involved in individual foreclosure cases, going toe to toe with big banks and getting results. She rewrote communications to homeowners from the banks to maximize response rates. She authored half a dozen reports that really showed how the banks were gaming the system, from calling out the cruel practice of dual tracking (when banks negotiate loan terms and pursue foreclosure at the same time) to the 'completed' application scam (where banks would capitalize on one missing document to nullify a modification and move to foreclose instead). And she took on government officials when they weren't learning from the conditions on the ground and making the same mistakes that let the banks off the hook. Overall, California got better results than the rest of the country and Porter's work put the national settlement oversight monitor to shame. She has expressed to me that she would put the same skills to work to fight for working families in Congress."

Writing for the Cook Report yesterday, Amy Walter emphasized the anti-Trump tsunami building against the GOP right now-- How to Lose a Majority. The House Republicans can usually count on an incredibly incompetent DCCC to keep it in power. That might not be enough in 2018 and 2020. She attributes it to "the very public intra-party fight between President Trump and the Freedom Caucus," calling it "just the latest twist in the ongoing fight over the philosophical, strategic and ideological direction of the Republican party. As has been his mode of operation since his candidate days, Trump has taken to Twitter to shame/intimidate/cajole members of his own party. In this case, it was to get rebellious GOPers to 'take one for the team' and support a flawed, but nonetheless GOP-authored Obamacare replacement bill. But, in the end, it’s not the Freedom Caucus that gets hurt by this infighting. They sit in safe Republican seats and know their voters better than anyone in DC. Instead, it’s the vulnerable GOP incumbents who lose this fight. Why? The more the GOP gets bogged down in process instead of progress, the more likely it is that their voters become disillusioned and that independent voters abandon them. Combine these ingredients with an energized Democratic base and you have all the ingredients for a disastrous midterm election in 2018 for the GOP."

Excellent description of the mess Mimi Walters-- who announced she would vote for TrumpCare-- finds herself in. If the DCCC doesn't screw this up by recruiting a Republican or a Republican-lite candidate, Mimi Walters can enjoy a nice retirement in Laguna Beach without having ever lived in the district she was supposed to be representing.
[T]he current situation of Republican-infighting, a lack of legislative accomplishments and a President determined to keep stoking political divisions is a very dangerous path for the GOP... [I]f Trump’s numbers continue to look this bad, it helps Democrats recruiting efforts to challenge these incumbents and more. In fact, Trump’s numbers now look more like those of a president who is about to be hit by a wave election that wipes his party out of power in the House, than one who is going to be able to ride a wave of success. This should worry Trump, not just because it means he loses legislative leverage for his agenda, but it means that Democrats now get subpoena power. If you think the Russia/Trump stories are bad for the administration now, just imagine what they’ll look like with Democrats in charge of the oversight committees.
Yesterday I spoke with Katie Porter on the phone, primarily about her stellar record, but I think I may have shocked her at one point when I asked her a question I ask all new candidates for Congress, namely if she would get into Congress and start hanging out with the Blue Dogs and vote with the Republicans. She didn't hesitate for even a second: "HELL NO!" Good answer!

UPDATE: Moments Ago...

...I got my first press release from Katie's campaign. And she is definitely off on the right track! I'd say Mimi Walters is going to be in for a very rough ride this year! Every Democratic candidate should be putting out press releases just like this today. Take a look:

Katie Porter Statement on Pres. Trump Signing Rep. Mimi Walters' Bill Repealing Consumer Privacy Protections

IRVINE -- Consumer advocate and congressional candidate Katie Porter released the following statement this morning after President Trump signed her opponent's, Congresswoman Mimi Walters (CA-45), bill repealing basic privacy protections for Orange County internet users:

"I've spent my career fighting powerful interests on behalf of consumers and families. But Donald Trump and Congresswoman Walters are helping those same powerful interests in Washington-- at our families expense. It's common sense-- cable companies shouldn't be allowed to sell Orange County residents' browsing history without their consent, but Congresswoman Walters' bill would do just that."

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At 8:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No! D voters don't need to pay attention to R interlopers. All they need do is COPLETELY eschew voting for anyone claiming a D label ever again.

Only way to make a real change.


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