Progressive favorite Katie Porter to face Walters in November

Progressive favorite Katie Porter to face Walters in November
© Greg Nash

Democrat Katie Porter, a progressive candidate backed by Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenKamala Harris: Trump administration ‘targeting’ California for political purposes Harry Reid says he won’t make 2020 endorsement until after Nevada caucus Gillibrand to appear on Fox News Monday night MORE (D-Mass.), is projected to win a spot on the November ballot to square off against Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Calif.) in a top-tier race.

Porter, a professor at University of California, Irvine, defeated Democrat Dave Min, a fellow professor endorsed by the state Democratic Party, and two other Democrats in California’s “jungle” primary, where all candidates compete in a single primary and the top two advance to the November election.

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Porter entered the race last year with endorsements from Warren and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisKamala Harris: Trump administration ‘targeting’ California for political purposes Gillibrand to appear on Fox News Monday night Harris on Smollett: 'I'm sad, frustrated, and disappointed' MORE (D-Calif.), two progressive lawmakers Porter has worked with in the past. She was also endorsed by EMILY’s List, which aims to elect women who support abortion rights to office, and End Citizens United, a campaign finance reform group.

On the national level, the House Democrats’ campaign arm stayed out of the race. But many Democrats in California rallied behind Min.

Min, a former legislative staffer for Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration MORE (D-N.Y.), narrowly clinched the state Democratic Party’s endorsement at the convention back in February. And he’s backed by more than a dozen House members in California’s congressional delegation.

Porter was one of three Democratic candidates who backed a single-payer health-care system, while Min was the only challenger who didn’t fully embrace it. Her victory as a "Medicare for all" candidate illustrates the Democratic Party’s continued shift to the left.

In the final weeks of the primary, Min took some heat from progressives for not running on the single-payer issue. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) ran digital ads that he opposed Medicare for all, calling him a “bad Dem.” But Min pushed back on PCCC’s claim, saying that he “supports many pathways to achieve universal health-care coverage.”

Porter now goes on to the general election to face Walters, who has been in Congress since 2014. Democrats are eyeing Walters’s Orange County district.

While the seat has been represented by a Republican since 1983, Clinton carried the Orange County-based district by more than 5 points last year.

Walters’s committee vote to advance the GOP’s effort to repeal ObamaCare last year could be a liability for her. But she’ll have plenty of reinforcements from GOP outside groups to protect her seat. Congressional Leadership Fund reserved $2.3 million on TV and digital and opened a field office in her district in January.