Republicans brought out one of their strongest candidates to try and take back the 48th Congressional District won by Democrat Harley Rouda in 2018. Rouda defeated then 30-year Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. Rohrabacher had held the seat comfortably, last winning re-election in 2016, but nearly 17-point margin.
But Rouda edged out Rohrabacher by nearly seven points in 2018. It was one of the flipped seats that help the Democrats take control of the House. Now, republicans are eyeing a chance to regain the seat with Michelle Steel, a popular local republican who currently chairs the Orange County Board of Supervisors.
Steel was listed among the GOP Young Guns candidates, those considered to have show then can win competitive congressional races.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was quoted on balloetpedia.com, “These candidates are running extraordinarily competitive, top-of-the-line campaign operations. … Their hard work has put the majority well within our reach, and I look forward to welcoming each one of them to Congress come fall.”
Steel has a long list of endorsements on her website, including local elected officials in the district. Among them are current Seal Beach Council Member Thomas Moore and former City Council Member Ellory Deaton. Her candidacy in the race has caught the attention of local Democrat supporters, who are expecting a tighter race than the 2018 election that put Rouda in the office. But they also feel his record during his first term stands on its own.
“I think Harley is great in terms of bi-partisanship,” Seal Beach Democrat Club member Steve Miller said.
Local GOP groups are pushing for Steel based on some key issues that have occupied the country in recent months; including the economy and taxes, which republicans argue will go up if the Democrats retain control of congress.
“Most hardworking Americans don’t want their taxes raised anymore, especially in California where the high tax rate coupled with an anti-business environment has more businesses and people relocating to other states,” Seal Beach Republican Women Federated President Bibi Mesmer said.
Although the district is still comprised of a majority of Republican voters, Democrats have been working to increase registration of Democrats. There are also more than 106,000 registered voters in the district who list No Party Preference. Democrats are looking to swing them over to voting for Rouda.
“We need a government and an economy that will work for all of us, not just the one percent. We are determined to be a part of the biggest voter turnout in history,” Seal Beach Democrat Club member Evan Jenkins said.