Dana Rohrabacher, “Putin’s Favorite Congressman,” Loses His House Seat

Democrat Harley Rouda knocks out the 15-term Republican.

Harley Rouda greets supporters at a get-out-the-vote rally in Laguna Beach, California on election day November 6, 2018.ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

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On Saturday night, the Associated Press announced that voters in Southern California’s 48th Congressional District elected Democrat Harley Rouda with 52 percent of the vote, delivering an end to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s 15-term career.

The 48th, which spans much of Orange County, has long been a Republican stronghold. And Rohrabacher, its representative for nearly 30 years, tended to coast to victory in his reelection bids. But like many Southern California districts, it has been slowly shifting to the left. It was one of the original seven California House districts that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee targeted in the 2018 elections in part because it went to Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016. While Democrats felt they had a fighting chance to unseat Rohrabacher, it was a tight race: The polls were neck-and-neck since July; the most recent, released just two days before the election, showed Rouda up by one percent

Rouda’s job was made easier by Rohrabacher, who has embraced both the president and Russia with gusto. Dubbed “Putin’s favorite congressman” by Politico, he has denied that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee in 2016 (despite evidence and indictments suggesting otherwise) and even floated a proposed deal to get Trump to pardon Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in exchange for evidence that Russia wasn’t behind the DNC hack. Rouda‘s campaign wasn’t shy about hitting Rohrabacher on his “Russia problem,” including running a three-minute-long campaign ad ripping him for his positions in a faux debate between the two candidates.

Rohrabacher has also called climate change “a total fraud,” thinks housing discrimination against gay people is fine, and routinely parrots President Trump’s rhetoric on immigration—though he’s been on the anti-immigrant beat since at least 1992. He derisively refers to immigrants as “illegals” who will change “our quality of life,” and has called sanctuary cities “an invitation for criminals from all over the world to come here.”

This year, the district sent Rohrabacher a message—and booted him out of the job he’s had for nearly three decades.

 

SIX TRUTHS

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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