PORT NEWPORT, California Republican Scott Baugh is attempting to return this Orange County swing seat to its GOP origins after it turned against him in a difficult year for Democrats.
However, he is navigating an area that is changing in terms of culture. He is now fearful of a Republican Party that Donald Trump has reshaped, as well as a rising Democratic star in Rep. Katie Porter, a two-term lawmaker who, as one Republican insider noted, has more money than God.
In an interview at his campaign headquarters in Newport Beach, Baugh stated, “I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t think it was winnable.” Yes, we can bring it back.
Former O.C. GOP leader and state assemblyman Baugh acknowledged that Porter’s funding lead is quite sizable. He warned the volunteers that there would be a low voter turnout and that one of the problems would be to bring as many people as possible to the polls.
The new 47th District in California is at the center of the crosscurrents influencing the 2022 election. Democrats’ grasp on power is threatened by the economy and President Joe Biden’s unpopularity, but GOP ambitions in the suburbs may be limited by cultural concerns like abortion and Trump’s persistent influence on the party.
A Porter loss would signal the coming of a crimson wave. In contrast, a Republican defeat here may suggest that former supporters in affluent and suburban districts aren’t turning around, limiting the party’s prospects. The Democratic campaign arm has designated Porter as a front-liner in defending the party’s majority, and the race is a priority Republican target in the fight for control of the House.
Orange County is frequently used as a predictor of national politics. Given how much the present Republican program has done to alienate these right-of-center, moderate, rich, suburban voters, is there going to be a road back? Professor of political science at the close-by University of California, Irvine, Graeme Boushey, remarked. I don’t believe that route back is there. But we can never minimize financial concerns.
Porter claims that her opponent doesn’t have a plan to tackle rising gas and grocery prices beyond screaming insults, despite the Republican strategy of using this and other Orange County contests as a referendum on an unpopular president and rising prices.
I’m a local, you see. Here, I raise my children. I fill up those identical gas tanks as I travel around in my minivan. In an interview with NBC News in Huntington Beach, Porter said, “I’m going into those same food stores.” It’s a serious issue that requires multiple fronts of attack.
According to Porter, passing the recent Democratic agreement allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription prices, investing in American manufacturing through the recently passed chips bill, and combating price gouging, notably that practiced by major oil companies, are the best ways to address growing costs.
Baugh recommended that lawmakers increase the supply of commodities, cut back on expenditure, and balance the budget in order to reduce costs.
He went on to say that you must reform entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, which have too many unfunded liabilities, and that one of the tools you must employ as part of a legislative settlement to reduce safety net spending is raising the retirement age.
When asked what sets Porter apart from him, Baugh responded, “She’s voted on $20 trillion in spending.” On all of that spending, I wouldn’t have voted.
Expanding the federal state and local tax deduction, which is currently $10,000 under the 2017 Republican tax plan and has notably hurt blue states like California, is one economic subject on which Porter and Baugh agree.
ORANGE COUNTY VALUES IN A CLASH
Porter recently voted in favor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which codifies federal safeguards for legal abortion, and the Respect for Marriage Act, which codifies federal protections for same-sex unions. She supported legislation that would have outlawed assault weapons as well.
If Baugh were a congressman, he stated he would vote against each of the legislation.
I firmly believe that a man and a woman should marry, he declared. Social agreements, social contracts, and all that are nothing to me.
Baugh stated that I would never support the abortion measure. In my opinion, life starts at conception. He advocated for government restrictions on pregnancy after the first trimester, citing legal frameworks in other European nations.
Baugh said: You’re not going to solve the gun violence problem in this country by taking away the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. He voiced sympathy for red flag laws as a means of addressing gun violence but not for the other measures Congress has discussed.
Porter justified her voting record by saying it reflected the ideals of her communities.
I believe that respect for others and freedom are important principles in Orange County. According to her, this is letting each person decide for themselves who they want to love, when and if they want to start a family, and whether or not they want an abortion. We also place a high importance on safety.
Baugh claimed he hadn’t been paying attention to the public hearings held by the House committee on January 6 and dismissed them as a bit of a phony show that the public doesn’t care about. But when asked if he thought Biden had a legitimate claim to the presidency, Baugh responded, “Yes.”
The election was recognized after he won the Electoral College. He is now the president of the United States as a result. Does that imply that the election was flawless? No, he said, declining to say if he thought voter fraud affected the result: I cannot know that.
Baugh declined to specify how he would have voted on January 6, 2021 about the GOP’s objections to counting the electoral votes from Pennsylvania and Arizona. I won’t make any assumptions about what I might have done. I could have given you a definitive response if I had been able to ask those questions and receive those responses, he said. But I’m not.
Heavily populated areas
Three contested districts in Orange County are bordered by the Porters district; these districts are represented by Democratic Rep. Mike Levin and Republican Reps. Michelle Steel and Young Kim. Porter and Levin’s races are classified as leaning Democratic by the Cook Political Report. Kims is probably Republican in newly updated maps, and Steel’s race is classified as leaning Republican.
These are densely populated commuter areas, and the economy, particularly petrol prices, has a significant impact on political fortunes in Orange County. Republicans have found success in this country by complaining about high taxes, according to Dave Wasserman, Cooks’ leading authority on House elections. Abortion has the greatest chance of saving suburban Democrats like Porter and Levin out of all the cultural concerns.
The results of these contests may depend on undecided voters like Andrew Lewis, a Newport Beach waiter who isn’t sure if he’ll choose Porter or Baugh.
He describes himself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal. He feels squeezed by the escalating costs. He supports stricter gun laws and abortion rights. He does not, however, support the GOP or Biden.
Lewis responded, “I’m more in the middle.” I believe that there are aspects of both parties that I enjoy.
A Trump-aligned movement that overturned Roe v. Wade, ignores school shootings, and attempts to cover up the attack on the Capitol was pitted against commonsense Democrats in the Orange County races, according to Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., the chair of the House Democratic campaign committee.
The Republicans will fail in that option, he said. Republicans who support MAGA are out of sync with suburban swing voters.
Republicans will continue to emphasize economic hardship, according to a statement from Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., the head of the GOP campaign arm.
According to Emmer, Californians are sick and tired of seeing record inflation and paying the highest gas prices nationwide. They are aware that voting Republican in November is the only way to put an end to the lunacy.