Harley Rouda has earned an avalanche of endorsements – everyone from the local Indivisible chapter to national progressive organizations.
California’s 48th Congressional District has been the source of drama on the left this election cycle, with reports of “infighting” between the camps of two contenders – businessman Harley Rouda and stem cell scientist Hans Keirstead. These reports are partly rooted in internal party politics: the California Democratic Party (CADEM) endorsed Keirstead in March, while the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) decided to step in last month to boost Rouda.
But the narrative that this race is a proxy war between the establishment and progressive wings of the party – and that the DCCC is meddling in local politics unnecessarily – doesn’t hold water. While it’s true that the state and national parties have staked out different territory in this race, a quick look at the other endorsements in the race shows a hugely lopsided advantage to the DCCC’s choice, Harley Rouda.
There have been an avalanche of endorsements for Rouda since Keirstead was endorsed at the CADEM Convention in February. Everyone from the California congressional delegation, to the district’s grassroots Indivisible chapter, to major national progressive organizations have lined up behind Rouda, independent of the DCCC’s decision to endorse him. The fact that they have done so largely following the CADEM endorsement indicates a united uneasiness among the left and the establishment for Keirstead’s viability in November.
And the stakes couldn’t be higher.
According to the Cook Political Report, CA-48 is one of only 25 House districts across the country labeled as a true electoral “toss-up”, making it a critical battleground for the Democrats – who are desperately hoping to flip the House blue in November.
CA-48 is also home to controversial Republican Dana Rohrabacher – someone with close ties to the Trump Administration, and multiple suspect connections to the Trump-Russia inquiry. Enthusiasm for defeating “Putin’s favorite Congressman” has led to a very crowded primary field on the left. In the state’s “jungle” primary system, the top-two vote-getters in the primary (regardless of party) advance to the general election. In Rohrabacher’s district, a crowded field of Democrats could mean that none of them earn enough votes to land in the top two, ensuring that Rohrabacher and his chief GOP primary opponent – Scott Baugh – advance. This would leave Democrats off the ballot entirely in November in a district that is very important both technically and symbolically.
With stakes so high, it’s no wonder there is so much interest in the race – interest that has yielded strong opinions about who has the best chance at defeating Rohrabacher in fall – who has held the seat since the late 1980’s.
The side-by-side comparison of endorsements as displayed on the candidates’ own websites is stark.
Ultimately, the people of CA-48 will decide who to support. Hopefully for the left, at least one of the final two candidates will be a Democrat – preferably one that has broad support, and who can win in November. If endorsements are any indication, that candidate is Harley Rouda.
Correction: Dr. Lorraine Prinsky, listed above and on his campaign website as supporting Hans Keirstead, is now supporting Harley Rouda. DemWritePress regrets this error.