Thursday, August 03, 2017

Rohrabacher Draws Yet Another Opponent-- This Time A Fellow Republican


A few days ago my friend Dave and I were escorting Randy Bryce through some kind of a Pasadena Convention Center-- through a parking garage and into a metal detector that went bonkers over his belt buckle and up some dark back staircase. Coming down the stairs was Dana Rohrabacher with a large contingent of staffers and bodyguards. I greeted him with a friendly smile and thanked him for his persistence in getting a medical marijuana bill passed. He seemed happy to be greeted by "an ally," even after I mentioned how glad I was that he had worked with Ted Lieu on the bill, not knowing that Ted Lieu had just debated him upstairs on his role in Putin-Gate and that Ted was going to Rohrabacher's Orange County district to hold healthcare town hall for Rohrabacher's constituents, since Rohrabacher refuses to appear in his district in public. Anyway, confused, he quickly changed the topic from Ted Lieu to how his shoulder was killing him from having been out surfing. He's only 70 but he appears doddering and frail and somewhere between 80 and 90, although maybe that was because Ted had just given him a hard time. David, who's managing Randy's campaign, muttered under his breath, "Where were you surfing, the Moscow River?" Randy had already disappeared up the stairs.

Rohrabacher's wealthy coastal district went, just barely, for Hillary Clinton last year-- 47.9% to 46.2%. Hillary did 5 points better than Obama had and Trump did 8.5 points worse than Romney. The district, which starts in Seal Beach, just a few miles south of Ted Lieu's district, goes south through Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Corona Del Mar, Laguna Beach all the way to Three Arch Bay. The DCCC-- and at least 7 Democrats (so far)-- think Hillary's performance can translate into a 2018 red-to-blue flip. We'll see, but right now Rohrabacher actually has a primary to contend with first.

Stelian Onufrei, a Romanian immigrant, is an Orange County builder who announced his intention to primary Rohrabacher last week. As best I can understand, he's not angry that Rohrabacher may be a spy for the Kremlin but is angry because he's pro-pot. Onufrei is around 2 decades younger than Rohrabacher and refers to him as "entrenched career politician" and "a political lightning rod."

Onufrei says he wants to "restore religious freedoms," which is short-hand on the far right for abolishing LGBT equality. He has boasted publicy that he will contribute half a million dollars of his own to primary Rohrabacher, who isn't a great fundraiser, although he does have $406,616 cash on hand. The main newspaper in the district covered Onufrei's announcement by running the video up top with a mention that "Rohrabacher spent last week dodging reporters who wanted to know if he knew he's been played as a Russian spy for years-- when he was not dodging inhabitants of Mars thousands of years ago-- another challenger announced for the Slimin' Congressman's 48th congressional district seat. But unlike his announced Democratic foes-- businessman and attorney Harley Rouda, real estate broker Boyd Roberts and PhD neuroscientist, cancer doctor and former UCI School of Medicine professor Dr. Hans Keirstead-- Stelian Onufrei is a Republican."
“Orange County has been the bedrock of conservatism in California," explains the 52-year-old Huntington Beach businessman about his decision to face off against a fellow Republican for the GOP nomination in 2018. "We owe much of our success as a state to this region that stood boldly for American values. I am saddened that a region as respected and prestigious as ours has largely gone unheard, unnoticed and seemingly forgotten in our nation’s capital."

Onufrei continues, "I attribute this to nothing more than the poor leadership that we’ve been saddled with for decades. Representative Dana Rohrabacher no longer cares for the people he serves, he is a representative that has long forgotten why he first took on his journey.”

Born in Communist Romania, migrating to the U.S. at age 19 and quickly having started a solar business before moving into residential con-struction, Onufrei makes no mention of the Russia scandal that has engulfed Rohrabacher, as it has the Trump administration. The latest news about Vladimir Putin's favorite congressman is that House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) declined Rohrabacher’s request to travel to Moscow shortly after Trump's inauguration-- because the timing was inappropriate. Also, top Rohrabacher aide Paul Behrends was ousted as staff director for a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee that his boss chairs because of his relationships with pro-Russia lobbyists.

No, Onufrei in his announcement goes after another pet Rohrabacher project, calling him "a politician that does anything but represent those who have entrusted him with so much and the California 48th Congressional District is now known for an entirely different reason, since my opponent has the proud distinction of founding the Congressional Marijuana Caucus in D.C.” (There goes the MMJ vote, Stelly!)

Added Onufrei: “Our congressional district is one of the most sought after and prestigious locations in all of America. We have a proud heritage of diversity, strong economy, and bold leadership. This rich history has often gone under represented in the halls of Congress due to weak, entrenched politicians that refuse to stand for the principles that have made America the greatest country on earth. We need strong leaders who are willing to carry the mantle of justice, liberty, and limited government, and that’s what I plan to make this campaign about.”
One of the Democrats running against Rohrabacher, Harley Rouda, told us that "Rohrabacher has time and time again shown that he values the interests of Russia over the interests of his own district. The public doesn't have all the facts about Dana Rohrabacher's relationship with Russia-- but what we know already is enough to disqualify him. We need a Congressman who focuses on the 48th Congressional District; not a hostile foreign power."

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home