Rouda passes on bid for redrawn California seat, avoiding intraparty battle with Porter

Former Rep. Harley RoudaHarley Edwin RoudaRouda passes on bid for redrawn California seat, avoiding intraparty battle with Porter Overnight Energy & Environment — California lawmakers clash over oil spill California Democrats blast offshore drilling in oil spill's wake MORE (D-Calif.) is passing on a campaign for a newly drawn Orange County congressional district that would have put him in direct competition with Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), who’s seeking reelection in the district next year.

Prior to Rouda’s announcement on Monday, both he and Porter had indicated that they would run in the newly drawn 47th District. But in a statement, Rouda said that he had no desire to challenge a sitting Democratic lawmaker in a primary. 

“While I do believe I would represent my district best, I am also pragmatic,” he said. “I have no interest in running against a Democratic incumbent who has decided to run in this district.”

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Both Rouda and Porter were first elected to the House in 2018. While Porter won her 2020 reelection bid, Rouda was narrowly defeated by Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Calif.). His decision to forego a challenge to Porter comes as a relief to Democrats, who are hoping to avoid as many primaries as possible in races where incumbents are running. 

Redistricting in several states has already laid the groundwork for a series of highly competitive primaries featuring House incumbents. In Georgia, for instance, Reps. Lucy McBathLucia (Lucy) Kay McBathRouda passes on bid for redrawn California seat, avoiding intraparty battle with Porter Four states to feature primaries with two incumbents in 2022 Planned Parenthood endorses nearly 200 House incumbents ahead of midterms MORE (D-Ga.) and Carolyn BourdeauxCarolyn BourdeauxRouda passes on bid for redrawn California seat, avoiding intraparty battle with Porter Four states to feature primaries with two incumbents in 2022 Conservative group targeting House Democrats over SALT positions MORE (D-Ga.) will face off in a primary in the state’s 7th District.

Similarly, in Illinois, Reps. Marie Newman (D-Ill.) and Sean CastenSean CastenMissouri House Democrat becomes latest to test positive for COVID-19 Louisiana Rep. Troy Carter announces positive COVID-19 test Maryland Democrat announces positive COVID-19 test MORE (D-Ill.) are competing for the Democratic nomination to represent the state’s 6th District. 

Democrats are defending a razor-thin House majority in 2022, a year that is expected to be particularly tough for the party. Republicans need to flip a net of five seats to take back control of the lower chamber.