Powerful women are backing a man for California’s Senate seat

Last weekend in Long Beach, Democratic Rep. Katie Porter of Irvine met with voters at a small rally in the back patio of Lola’s Mexican Cuisine. It was one of many stops she’s making around California as she campaigns for the U.S. Senate seat that was recently held by the late Dianne Feinstein.

“If one of Katie’s male opponents wins in November, that will be the first time in more than 30 years that California does not have a woman representing us in the Senate,” Democratic Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine) said as she introduced Porter.

Boos rang out from the crowd.

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This was a scene my colleague Benjamin Oreskes witnessed on the campaign trail in the final weeks before the March 5 primary. It points to an unanticipated undercurrent of California’s Senate race.

Though California made history in 1993 as the first state to elect two women to the Senate, the state’s streak of female representation may come to an end after this year’s election — and, Oreskes reports, women appear to be a leading reason.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), one of the most powerful women in California and national politics, has endorsed Porter’s male opponent, Democratic Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank). So has former Sen. Barbara Boxer, who served alongside Feinstein for nearly a quarter century after they were elected in the first “Year of the Woman.” More than half the women in California’s congressional delegation also back Schiff. And recent opinion polls show Schiff leading the field among female likely voters.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Can a Democrat not named Katie Porter win her congressional swing seat?

Democrats Dave Min and Joanna Weiss are waging a heated battle over who is more electable in a purpling Orange County.

LOS ANGELES — Rep. Katie Porter has been a bright spot for Democrats as they try to claim territory in Orange County, California’s historic bastion of conservatism. But even with a nearly $30 million campaign war chest and a gift for turning congressional hearings into viral takedowns, she barely won reelection last year.

Now, with Porter vacating the seat to run for Senate, Democrats are torn between two candidates. Each represents a key constituency that could help keep the district blue absent her star power: Asian Americans and anti-Trump suburban women.

The answer to whether a Democrat not named Katie Porter — without her national profile or piles of campaign cash — can win in southern California’s 47th congressional district will echo far beyond Orange County. It could very well determine the balance of power in the House.

The contest between Democrats Dave Min and Joanna Weiss has become even more charged since Min, the early Democratic favorite, was arrested on drunken driving charges in May after running a red light. (Min called the incident “the worst mistake of my life.”) As Democrats in California and Washington argue about whether picking Min is too politically risky, the Republican who narrowly lost to Porter last year is salivating at another shot to flip the seat.

“Our suspicion is they will have come through a fairly bloody primary process,” GOP candidate Scott Baugh said of whoever emerges as the Democrat candidate in the general election.

The left began agonizing over the district as soon as Porter decided in January to run for Senate instead of seeking reelection. Their path to retake the House runs through California and requires picking off vulnerable Republicans who lost a key patron with the ouster of then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

But in this case, the party is playing defense in a district where Democrats have a whisper-thin registration advantage. Though President Joe Biden won the seat by 11 points over former President Donald Trump in 2020, Republicans doubt he can replicate that margin this time around.

It is an especially fraught moment for Orange County Democrats, who have whipsawed between successes and setbacks in recent years — sweeping the county’s six-district delegation in 2018, only to backslide and give two seats back to the Republicans. Porter’s narrow victory last year further underscored how tenuous the party’s gains have been, even with a political celebrity on the ballot.

“No one can be like Katie Porter,” Min said in a recent interview. “I’m not going to try to be like Katie Porter. She’s uniquely charismatic, uniquely funny, uniquely famous.”

While neither Min nor Weiss sell themselves as Porter clones, they all share a similar political origin story: the 2018 midterms. Min and Porter, neither of whom held elected office, ran for Congress that year. After Porter bested Min in an acrimonious primary, Min used that campaign as a springboard to his successful state Senate run in 2020.

Also in that election cycle, Weiss helped build Women for American Values and Ethics (WAVE), a fundraising and volunteer machine that embodied the political awakening of suburban women after Trump’s election in 2016. The group was especially successful in organizing in the county’s coastal areas, home to mostly affluent mainline Republicans and independents that were a pivotal voting bloc for Democrats’ successes that year.

Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.), who grew up in Orange County and now represents an inland swath of the county, said Weiss’ experience mobilizing women voters will be essential in 2024, as Democrats hope to harness the lingering anger about the overturning of Roe v. Wade. As recent elections in Ohio and Virginia showed, the right to an abortion remains a deeply potent issue.

“When you talk about things like a woman’s right to choose, that’s very personal,” Sánchez said. “Being a woman in that race, she’s going to be able to deliver that message.”

Min, who is Korean American but has a surname that is also common among Chinese and Vietnamese people, says he can appeal to otherwise conservative-leaning Asian Americans.

These voters “are the margin of victory in a lot of cases,” said Tammy Kim, the Democratic vice mayor of Irvine who previously ran an Asian American Pacific Islander progressive advocacy group.

“I really like Joanna Weiss — I really do. … I hate the fact that her and Dave are running against each other,” Kim said. “With that being said, I believe if there is an AAPI seat, this is one. And I want to see Dave Min get it.”

Min said Porter, who endorsed his campaign, told him she believed the seat should be represented by an Asian American. Porter’s campaign did not comment on Min’s remarks.

The harshest fights between the Democrats so far have little to do with differences in policy or political strategy. Instead, it’s all about Min’s DUI.

The incident generated new momentum for Weiss, who was already in the race. In the weeks after the arrest, Harley Rouda, the district’s former Democratic representative, lined up with Weiss and called on Min to drop out. Other Democrats announced their support for Weiss soon afterward, including Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley and Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris, who won hard-fought elections in the area. So did EMILY’S List, the national fundraising juggernaut that backs women candidates who favor abortion rights.

“We need to make sure we’re sending the strongest candidate into the general,” Weiss said. “It’s concerning that anyone would drive under the influence and endanger other drivers — especially a state senator, driving a state-owned vehicle, who exercised poor judgment of character. I think our community agrees with that.”

While some national Democrats initially expressed concern about Min’s prospects, party leaders in Washington have yet to back either campaign. The House Democrats’ campaign arm has kept its focus on Baugh, teeing up attacks on his views of abortion or his past campaign legal troubles that resulted in $47,000 in fines.

Both campaigns have publicly and privately been making their case to party leaders and activists about whether or not the DUI is disqualifying. Weiss’ supporters say it is especially damaging because there is video footage of Min’s arrest.

Min’s camp released a polling memo asserting that such attacks on Min fall flat with voters. The poll questions omitted some details that would likely make fodder for attack ads, such as the fact he was driving a state-owned car, according to screenshots reviewed by POLITICO.

There was no major exodus of endorsements from Min’s campaign and he has since picked up additional support from law enforcement such as the unions representing Los Angeles police and deputy sheriffs. He also consolidated most of the support from local Democratic clubs and is poised to get the state Democratic Party endorsement at its convention this weekend.

“If it’s about viability, that’s not something we’ve found to be a hit,” Min said. “Other candidates are making this all about my DUI but will not articulate their own rationale or arguments of how they could win — or present evidence.”

Meanwhile, Min’s allies are pointing to potential drags on Weiss’ candidacy in the general election, such as her living roughly ten miles outside the district boundaries (members of Congress are not required to live in their districts). And they have gone after Weiss for loaning nearly a quarter million dollars to her campaign, arguing the bid is being financed by her work — and her husband’s — as corporate litigators representing companies accused of harming workers.

A chippy primary in March could be water under the bridge in November; plenty of candidates, including Porter herself in 2018, were able to bring together a fractured party and win in the general election.

Porter’s campaign projected optimism that Democrats remain well-positioned for the seat, even as she seeks higher office. Her campaign spokesperson Mila Myles said that “whichever Democrat emerges” will benefit from the grassroots organizing she built in the district.

Still, Baugh, the Republican who is running again this cycle, can barely hide his giddiness about what he calls a “dramatically different” landscape compared to 2022, when Porter spent nine times more than he did. This time, he has already raised more than $1.5 million, roughly a quarter million more than Min and Weiss. He is seen as the prohibitive favorite among Orange County Republicans, though he does face a challenge to his right from businessperson Max Ukropina.

Click here to read the full article in Politico

Little Difference Between Democratic Senate Candidates Lee, Porter, Schiff

California voters will soon choose a replacement for the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein

In a little over a year California voters will choose a replacement for the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

An Oct. 8 debate revealed some differences among the three candidates involved: Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff of Burbank, Katie Porter of Orange County and Barbara Lee of Oakland.

On the hottest issue of the day, the candidates differed on how the United States ought to respond to the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.

Schiff first was asked if he was out of step with “other progressives,” such as Porter and Lee, with his typically hawkish stance. He touted his support by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and J Street. He said, “The only sentiment I want to express right now, when Israel is going through its own 9/11, is unequivocal support for the security and the right of Israel to defend itself.”

Porter, by contrast, said, “I stand with Israel in this time and I condemn the loss of lives, both of Palestinians and of Israelis who are being victims of this terror.” She backed a two-state solution, giving Palestinians their own country, and she cautioned with respect to Israel’s response to the Hamas terrorist attacks, “There is no exception for human rights.”

Said Lee, who has sponsored legislation putting restrictions on U.S. aid to Israel, “I have always stood for Israel.” She added she has condemned terrorist attacks on it. She called for prayers for both sides, and said America “has a responsibility to call for a ceasefire.”

On the domestic front, all three supported a bill by Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Virginia, to more than double the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 to $17 by 2028; in California it already will be $16 in 2024.

Schiff thought there ought to be flexibility among states because some are cheaper. But for health care workers, he backed $25 and $20 for everyone else. Lee, who has evidently never once considered getting even vaguely acquainted with economics, backed a $50 minimum wage. Porter complained about corporate profits and backed a $25 minimum wage with a cost-of-living increase.

The candidates held similar views on most other issues, such as opposing the potential shutdown of the government over budget squabbles and backing the PRO Act, which would greatly increase union power.

In other words, the three top Democrats are as economically illiterate as each other, and prefer suffocating top-down federal mandates over allowing markets to work. Their only major distinction is their approach to foreign policy. On the one end, you have Schiff, who voted for the disastrous Iraq war and on the other, you have Lee, who voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

In future debates, we hope participants include Sen. Laphonza Butler, who was invited but chose not to participate. She was appointed Oct. 1 by Gov Gavin Newsom to replace Feinstein. But so far Butler hasn’t publicly stated her intentions for seeking election to the office.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

Report: Unearthed Divorce Filings Reveal Allegations Democrat Katie Porter Abused Ex-Husband

Bombshell accusations of Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) allegedly physically abusing her ex-husband surfaced on Wednesday, which come on the heels of her pattern of aggressive interpersonal interactions in recent years.

Porter was the first of three prominent House Democrats to announce their candidacies for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) seat as she heads to retirement at the culmination of her term. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), both of whom have held House seats for at least two decades, have also launched bids in the high-stakes race.

Now, just months after her campaign’s launch, documents regarding her divorce from ex-husband Matthew Hoffman found their way to the Daily Mail. 

Hoffman’s jaw-dropping accusations include accounts of Porter allegedly causing physical harm to her arms with scratch marks so she could blame it on him, allegedly assaulting him with scalding hot food in a whirlwind of rage, and allegedly breaking a glass coffee pot while having a meltdown, which injured him.

The Daily Mail’s Morgan Phillips did not provide the dates surrounding the self-harm allegations. However, she reported that an alleged incident – in which Hoffman claims Porter dumped a piping hot bowl of mashed potatoes on his head – occurred in 2006.

Hoffman asserted that while he was preparing the side dish, Porter entered the kitchen and shouted, “Can’t you read the f***ing instructions!” in front of their son after catching a glimpse of the potatoes, per Phillips.

“She then took the ceramic bowl of steaming hot potatoes and dumped it on my head, burning my scalp,” Hoffman said in the document.

The alleged coffee pot incident supposedly occurred in 2012, after the couple sought out anger management courses several years earlier, per Phillips.

Hoffman – a then-stay-at-home father – contended that Porter was infuriated their home was not tidy after she returned from work. He alleged she broke a glass coffee pot by banging it against the counter, causing him a wound. Their children were home during the alleged ordeal as she called him “incompetent” and “a f***cking slob,” Hoffman said.

Accompanying the alleged physical abuse, Hoffman said that Porter regularly hurled verbal attacks, the nature of which demeaned his intelligence. He also accused her of being shrill and short-tempered with their children, Phillips noted.

In 2018, when Porter was first running for Congress, she sat down with the Huffington Post to discuss her divorce as “[s]everal delegates to the Orange County Democratic Party Convention told Porter they’d heard rumors from a rival campaign that something in her divorce records might disqualify her in the general election,” the outlet noted.

Porter claimed at the time that Hoffman turned abusive after they separated and were still living together in 2013 while he tried to stop the divorce from proceeding.

She alleged that Hoffman punched a wall, physically pushed her, “shoved their 1-year-old daughter across the kitchen in her high chair, threatened to kill himself and once held the door of Porter’s car open to stop her from driving to a school meeting,” the Huffington Posts’s Lura Basset wrote.

According to the Mail, Porter said in court documents that Hoffman only turned violent after the separation, aside from one incident years ago.

“Porter said in divorce documents that their marriage had been ‘troubled’ for four years, leading to divorce, but her husband had ‘not acted violently’ other than one incident years earlier where Hoffman punched a wall until she began the process of leaving him,” Phillips wrote.

Details of Hoffman’s allegations come as Porter has drawn scrutiny in recent months over her interactions with a former staffer and an elected Democrat official in California.

Just months ago, she caught criticism “for allegedly punishing one of her Wounded Warrior Fellows after she accused the staffer of giving her coronavirus,” as Breitbart News’s Jordan Dixon-Hamilton reported:

Sasha Georgiades is a U.S. Navy veteran who joined Porter’s office as a Wounded Warrior Fellow in the fall of 2020. Although Georgiades’s fellowship was set to end in August 2022, she said her fellowship was cut a few weeks short after she failed to follow “office protocols” on coronavirus.

In a text to Georgiades, Porter asked why she failed to adhere to protocol, adding, “It’s really disappointing.”

The protocol she violated was “failing to take a COVID-19 test the instant she felt even slightly unwell,” Reason reported, citing Georgiades. Initially, she attributed soreness to her frequent workouts and tested only after starting to feel sick.

In response to Porter, she texted that she accepted responsibility and apologized, adding, “Just because I felt okay in the moment doesn’t mean I was.”

The next morning Porter mandated that she work remotely for the last weeks of her fellowship and steer clear of the office “given [her] failure to follow office policies.”

“Essentially, I was demoted to remote and banned from the office,” Georgiades told Fox News.

In another text, she thanked Porter for the opportunity to work in her office and noted that her “head was not in the best place” following the murder of a friend in the Navy, which she said could explain the protocol oversight.

“Well you gave me Covid,” Porter responded. “In 25 months, it took you not following the rules to get me sick. My children have nobody to care for them.”

Georiades told Fox News she thinks Porter would have outright terminated her had she not been protected by the Wounded Warrior program.

Porter also garnered scrutiny last December over a heated text exchange with Democrat Irvine, California, Mayor Farra Khan in July 2021. Porter seemingly took issue with Khan arriving at the same Mexican restaurant she was attending and told the mayor, “You have a reputation for not staying in your lane and seeking attention.”

In another text, after Khan suggested it would be “more professional” for Porter to call her. The congresswoman invoked her title as a U.S. representative and challenged the mayor for critiquing her “professionalism.”

Click here to read the full article in BreitbartCA

California 2024 US Senate Contest Kicks Off at Furious Pace

California’s U.S. Senate race is unfolding at a furious pace, with candidates reporting seven-figure fundraising and holding competing rallies and campaign events more than a year before the 2024 primary election.

The fight for the safely Democratic seat held by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who at 89 is the oldest member of Congress, is shaping up as a marquee match-up between nationally known rivals and is likely to become one of the most expensive Senate races in the country next year.

On Saturday, Democratic U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, who rose to prominence as the lead prosecutor in former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial, gathered hundreds of supporters in a union hall parking lot for a rally in his hometown of Burbank, California, where he implored the cheering crowd, “Let’s go win this thing.”

Schiff, who announced his candidacy last month, said he was running for Senate after two decades in Congress “to build an economy that works for everyone, a democracy that will last for all time and a planet that doesn’t melt beneath our feet.”

A day earlier, Democratic U.S. Rep. Katie Porter brought her Senate campaign to Los Angeles, where she met with local leaders to discuss pollution in lower-income neighborhoods. She said such areas are often overlooked in Washington and Sacramento, where residents’ complaints about unhealthy conditions go unheard.

Porter, a leader in Congress’ progressive wing, built a reputation for her tough questioning of CEOs and other witnesses at congressional hearings — often using a whiteboard to break down information.

Other potential contenders for the seat include Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee, a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. If she runs and is elected, Lee would be the only Black woman in the Senate.

Feinstein has yet to say if she will seek a seventh term. In recent years, questions have arisen about her cognitive health and memory, though she has defended her effectiveness. However, her reticence about her future has created a publicly awkward dynamic — the race to replace her is rapidly taking shape, even as the senator remains unclear about her intentions.

Schiff’s rally, held on a nippy, mostly overcast morning, marked the start of a two-week statewide tour, with stops to include San Diego, Sacramento, Fresno and San Francisco.

He was joined by his wife Eve, one of his two children, Alexa, and David McMillan, whom the congressman mentored as a youth and considers part of his family.

After recounting his career as a federal prosecutor, state legislator and member of Congress, Schiff made clear he would anchor his campaign to his role as impeachment manager and Trump’s chief antagonist in Congress. He has been a frequent target of conservatives — Trump in particular — since the then-GOP-led House Intelligence Committee he served on started investigating Trump’s ties to Russia in the 2016 election.

He mentioned “democracy” more than a half-dozen times in the speech. He’s selling T-shirts and coffee mugs on his campaign website, with the slogan “Democracy Matters.” He called Trump, who has announced his 2024 campaign for the presidency, “a demagogue bent on destroying our democracy.”

“We investigated Trump. We impeached him. We held him accountable and then we defeated him at the ballot box,” Schiff said to cheers. “And we will defeat him again, if the GOP is foolish enough to nominate him. He will never see the inside of the Oval Office, never again.”

Trump was impeached in December 2019 on charges he abused the power of the presidency to investigate rival Joe Biden and obstructed Congress’ investigation. The Republican-led Senate acquitted Trump of both charges. In 2021, he became the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, this time for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol after he lost the 2020 election. He was again acquitted by the Senate.

Schiff’s other foundational issues include fighting climate change and improving the economy.

“Too many people are working multiple jobs but cannot pay the rent, afford groceries or pay for lifesaving medication,” he said. “Too many children are growing up in poverty and hungry.”

Schiff and Porter, both prolific small-dollar fundraisers, already are dueling over campaign dollars and endorsements. Former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco is backing Schiff, providing Feinstein retires, and Porter is supported by Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Click here to read the full article in AP News

Democrat Rep. Katie Porter Accused of Demoting Aide Who ‘Gave Me COVID’

That’s sick!

Democratic congresswoman was accused Thursday of retaliating against a staffer who the lawmaker said exposed her to COVID-19 this past summer after working in person while ill.

Sasha Georgiades, a Navy veteran who joined Rep. Katie Porter’s office in 2020 as a Wounded Warrior Fellow, told Reason magazine that she was relegated to working remotely for the last several weeks of her fellowship and never heard from her boss again after Porter lashed out.

“Why did you not follow office protocol on testing?” Porter, 48, allegedly asked Georgiades in a July 9 text message obtained by the news outlet. “It’s really disappointing”.

According to Georgiades, the “office protocol” required taking a COVID test the instant one felt even slightly unwell. She told Reason that she thought she was “just sore from exercise.”

“I’m terribly sorry,” an apologetic Georgiades responded at the time. “You’re right I should have done better. Just because I felt okay in the moment doesn’t mean that I was.”Porter, who was elected to represent California’s 45th District in 2018 and has been reelected twice since, contracted COVID-19 around the same time — she announced she had tested positive on July 11 — and became enraged, texting Georgiades: “Well you gave me COVID. In 25 months, it took you not following the rules to get me sick. My children have nobody to care for them.” 

“She never spoke a word to me after this,” Georgiades, whose fellowship ended in August, told Reason. 

In response to Porter’s claim about her children, Georgiades claimed that the single mother was supposed to be in Washington, DC that week, anyway – away from her three kids, who live in California.

“If she thought she was going to go the rest of her life without it, that’s impossible,” Georgiades said of Porter’s reaction.

In a statement, Porter’s office confirmed the authenticity of the messages, saying: “This former employee was not fired. She was a fellow in our office, and weeks before she breached COVID protocol in July, we had already mutually agreed on an end date in August 2022.

Click here to read the full article in the NY Post

Rep. Katie Porter’s Sweet UC Irvine Housing Deal Raises Eyebrows

Houses in Orange County go for $1 million, but Porter snagged one for half that with the help of some college friends

Although Orange County Congresswoman Katie Porter represents an area where houses typically sell for $1 million, Porter’s four-bedroom, three-bath in a sweet subdivision of the University of California Irvine campus is a steal at $523,000, the Associated Press reports.

The Democrat and law professor didn’t just luck into a good deal on a house. She purchased it in 2011 at below-market price through an arrangement in which the university helps out academics who couldn’t otherwise “afford to live in the affluent area.” There is only one eligibility requirement—that Porter continue to work for UC Irvine and meet with students.

But some are raising their eyes since this high-class subsidized housing continues even though she’s spent years away from the classroom. Porter taught for eight years, and then left for Congress after she was elected in 2018. That’s when she first took unpaid leave from her teaching job—which paid $258,000 a year—to serve in the House of Representatives.

Emails obtained by AP show Porter had at least one person working on her behalf, a law school administrator who had donated to her political campaign and “helped secure extensions of her tenure while she remained in Congress.”

Administrators agreed to two separate one-year periods of leave that enabled Porter to keep her house, AP’s documents show. School officials, however, started questioning the arrangement as her 2020 reelection.

“Is there any fixed limit on the number of years of leave without pay… One of our administrators mentioned that they seemed to recall a two-year limit,” law school Vice Dean Chris Whytock, who donated $500 to Porter’s 2018 campaign, wrote in a April 2020 email, adding, “Some government service may, of course, last for a number of years.”

Whytock wrote a memo outlining the case for extending Porter’s leave, according to AP, while suggesting that there are no limits on how long such an arrangement could continue. The plan required the approval of the school’s vice provost, which was granted in 2020, according the the emails.

Whytock did not return AP’s request for comment.

Porter did not address whether or not her housing arrangement was kosher in an interview with AP, but she said she “followed the applicable [University of California] policies, as well as all applicable state and federal law.”

“I am always happy to be transparent with voters,” Porter said. “I take a lot of pride in my record on transparency and good governance and have been asked about this before by voters and have always been happy to give them full and complete information.”

Porter’s housing situation does not violate U.S. House ethics rules. Porter will seek a third term in November.

Click here to read the full article in Los Angeles Magazine

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