Democrats take aim at Rohrabacher as Keirstead gets endorsement

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Stem cell pioneer Hans Keirstead gets Democratic party endorsement. Courtesy photo

Democrats are still lining up to try and unseat the 48th Congressional District Republican incumbent, Dana Rohrabacher, R-Costa Mesa, now serving his 15th term.

The 48th Congressional District includes the city of Seal Beach. According to published reports, Keirstead managed to corral the votes of enough Democrats attending the San Diego convention to get the endorsement, even as other candidates mounted a united effort to prevent it.

Keirstead is a stem-cell biologist and a health care pioneer.

His campaign has thus far picked up a number of key endorsements. Campaign finance reports indicate that his campaign, along with that of Democrat Harley Rouda, has been successful in raising money for the upcoming race.

Keirstead sold the healthcare related company he founded, for more than $120 million before entering the race, according to reports.

He characterized the weekend’s Democratic endorsement as a strong showing from deeply involved Democrats.

According to Ballotpedia, at least eight Democrats are considering the race, even though the official count won’t be clear until qualifying ends in March.

In addition to Keirstead and Rouda, fellow Democrats Harley Omar Siddiqui, Boyd Roberts, Tony Zarkades, Rachel Payne, Laura Oatman and Michael Kotick are either in or considering the race.

There’s more potential trouble for Rohrabacher as three other Republicans, Scott Baugh, Stelian Onufrel and Paul Martin are considering a run, as is Brandon Reiser, a Libertarian candidate and Independent Kevin Kensigner, according to Ballotpedia website.

Rohrabacher has broken ranks with neighboring Republican colleagues, Rep. Darrell Issa and Rep. Ed Royce, both of whom have announced plans to retire.

Rohrabacher said last week he plans to run for re-election and has major legislation pending.

Democrats, as well as candidates from his own party, believe that Rohrabacher’s three decades in Congress is about to catch up with him.

Besides the fact that Hillary Clinton carried the district in the recent Presidential election, the respected Washington political report “The Cook Report” has moved the race from leaning Republican to the “Tossup” category. Noted political science professor Larry Sabato claims “we see Rohrabacher as more vulnerable, perhaps significantly so, both because of his own liabilities and his potential challengers.”

According to Sabato, “Trump campaign’s potential connections to Russia may have salience given Rohrabacher’s often-expressed warmth toward the Kremlin.”

A spokesman in the elections division of the California Secretary of State’s office said county election officials do the actual qualifying and the state will announce all of the “qualifying” candidates March 29.

The qualified candidates then proceed to the primary election on June 5 where after the top two candidates then move to the general election Nov. 6.

Democrats take aim at Rohrabacher as Keirstead gets endorsement