Local Election Politics: Dems dump big money into Rohrbacher-Rouda race; Nguyen-Umberg key to Dem super-majority

Nguyen-Umberg race could be key to whether Democrats regain a super majority in the State Senate

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As Election day nears, the rhetoric and the expenses are both rising rapidly in a number of local races that could have major consequences in legislative agendas.

The Monitor is reporting that in the U.S. House of Representatives 48th District former NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC reported spending $4.4 million on advertising against 15-term incumbent Dana Rohrabacher.

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Democrats, who need to gain 23 seats to win the majority, have targeted Rohrabacher, of Costa Mesa, and five other GOP-held seats.  They are calculating that the unpopularity of President Trump, who lost all six districts in 2016, has put every one of those seats in play for Democrats.

A spot that Bloomberg started airing this week is a brutal attack on Rohrabacher, hammering him for saying that global warming is a fraud.

“It’s getting hotter, but while fire and smoke choke our air, Dana Rohrabacher is radically opposed to efforts to fight climate change,” a narrator says as images of forest fires and belching smokestacks flash on screen.

A League of Conservation Voters committee has joined Bloomberg in spending $650,000 to air the ad.

Rohrabacher spokesman Dale Neugebauer said the congressman believes the climate is changing, but not that human activity is the cause.

“Billionaires from San Francisco and New York City are pouring millions of dollars into this district to buy the election for Nancy Pelosi and advance their own personal agendas,” Neugebauer said. “Their attack ads are intended (to) mislead and to distort Rep. Rohrabacher’s record. It won’t work.”

Howard Wolfson, a Bloomberg senior adviser, called the congressman’s stand on climate change extreme.

“There are many Republicans who vote against the environment, but there are not many who are willing to say so explicitly on the record that they believe that climate change is a hoax,” he said. “That kind of thing is really out of step with the district.”

Republicans outnumber Democrats by more than 10 percentage points in Rohrabacher’s 48th Congressional District on the Orange County coast, stretching from Seal Beach to South Laguna. But Hillary Clinton beat Trump there in 2016, 48 percent to 46 percent.

Rohrabacher is espousing hard-line immigration stances and tactics, much like Trump. Rohrabacher also has been linked to Russia and possible Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Rohrabacher also has taken up the fight to regulate sober-living homes, an issue that touches his district. Meanwhile, Rouda has attacked the congressman as being ineffective and has advocated for bringing green-energy jobs to the district and for implementing a version of Medicare for All.

State Senate 34 – Incumbent Janet Nguyen (Rep-Garden grove) vs. Tom Umberg (Dem, Costa Mesa)

The 34th District stretches from East Long Beach to Costa Mesa and locally includes Seal Beach, Los Alamitos and Rossmoor.  Incumbent GOP State Senator Janet Nguyen, who won the district in 2014, is facing a challenge from Democratic businessman Tom Umberg. Democrats hold a 10-point voter registration advantage, but Nguyen, a moderate Republican, has overcome registration deficits in the past. An Umberg victory could give state Democrats the two-thirds supermajority they lost when Josh Newman was recalled from office in June.

Nguyen has made herself a frequent visitor at events in our area, and has recently been in the news for helping get $7.29 million in funds released for the further improvements at Newcomb Academy in Long Beach’s El Dorado Park Estates, just  a few blocks west of Los Alamitos.

Meanwhile Nguyen is getting some unexpected friendly fire opposition from  Supervisor Andrew Do – in a reported battle to see who is at the top of the heap in local Vietnamese politics.

 

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