Former Democrat Rep. Harley Rouda Drops From Contention for Katie Porter's Congressional Seat

(AP Photo/Krysta Fauria, File)

In 2020, Orange County, California Democrat Rep. Harley Rouda lost a tight congressional race for the District 45 seat to current Republican Rep. Michelle Steel. The California Democrats still considered Rouda a frontbencher, and first planned to run him against Steel again in 2022. Once California redistricting occurred, skewing the demographics to the more wealthy (and white) Beach Cities, and moving the central Orange County districts with a greater degree of Asian constituents to District 48, Michelle Steel decided to run in that district, and the Democrat Party put up businessman Jay Chen to run against her in 2022. Chen lost by a mile. In 2024, Aditya Pai will be running for District 48, which left Rouda still on the bench.


But once District 47 Rep. Katie Porter announced her run for Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat, Rouda was now perfectly positioned to run against Republican businessman Scott Baugh, who lost to Porter in 2022 and planned to run again in 2024. Rouda wasted no time and jumped right in the day after Porter announced her Senate candidacy.

From the Los Angeles Times:

A day after Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) announced her bid for the U.S. Senate, former Rep. Harley Rouda on Wednesday announced he would seek another term in Congress in Porter’s district.

Rouda, a Democrat who was elected in 2018 and served one term, was unseated by Michelle Steel, a Republican. Rouda was considering another run for Congress last year, but when Porter jumped into the 47th Congressional District he got out of the way.

Hours after Porter’s announcement Tuesday, her Republican opponent last year, businessman Scott Baugh, announced he would vie for the seat again.

But on Tuesday, Rouda just as abruptly withdrew himself from contention, as reported by Fox News:

Former Rep. Harley Rouda, D-Calif, formally withdrew from the race to replace Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif, Tuesday, saying he had suffered a fall and a brain injury.

Rouda’s campaign issued the announcement Tuesday, saying Rouda had met with his doctor, who recommended that he end his campaign. The former representative says he suffered a “moderate traumatic brain injury with two intra parenchymal hemorrhages.”

“Thankfully, my doctors say that I have started on the path to a full recovery. I want to thank the incredible nurses, doctors, and medical staff who made this possible, and whose professionalism and care was a comfort during this trying time,” Rouda wrote in a statement.

“But on their advice, I am ending my campaign for California’s 47th congressional district today. This is not the outcome I wanted. But my family comes first, and to be there for them, I need to focus fully on my recovery in the months ahead,” he added.


It is a good thing that Rouda and his family had the wherewithal not to pull a “Fetterman.” This propping up sick and dead candidates for elected office seems to be the new standard operating procedure of the Democrat Party; so, you can imagine they may well have floated the idea of Rouda staying in the race, despite this truly critical health challenge. Good for him that he chose to spare himself, his health, his family, and the people of California from that potential nightmare.

This Democrat SOP also shows that their prospects for candidates appear to be thin, especially in California, where progressives are overrunning the landscape and moderates are in short supply—if not non-existent. Whoever the Democrats plan to run to replace Rouda, they are already at a disadvantage. Baugh gained tremendous national name recognition in 2022 and lost by a very slim margin. He learned much through that cycle and plans to use that knowledge to his advantage. With the California GOP finally learning to play offense instead of defense, it appears he will be the one to beat. District 47, which has skewed purple of late, is a battleground area of Orange County. Baugh is confident that the constituency is hungry for conservative representation:

In November, Baugh forced radical Congresswoman Katie Porter to spend $28 million to barely win reelection, holding her to just over 51% of the vote in spite of being spent by 10-1. The district will be an open seat in 2024, as Porter has announced her candidacy for the United States Senate.

“This district has been home to my family and business for several decades and over the last year I was able to meet thousands of hard-working neighbors who want and deserve a representative focused on the needs of the district and the good of our nation,” said Baugh. “Voters are rightfully upset with the dysfunction in Washington and deserve better.

“Even though we were able to raise over $3 Million, we faced a huge spending disadvantage in 2022, but that will not happen in 2024 and I am ready to go to work to raise whatever it will take to restore thoughtful, conservative representation to our part of Orange County,” concluded Baugh.


Rouda dropping out is the Democrats’ loss, and the Republicans’ and Scott Baugh’s gain.

The opinions expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of



Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos