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

Greg Nash

Former Rep. Harley Rouda (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.”

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 McBath (D-Ga.) and Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.) will face off in a primary in the state’s 7th District.

Similarly, in Illinois, Reps. Marie Newman (D-Ill.) and Sean Casten (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. 

Tags 2022 midterms California politics Carolyn Bourdeaux Harley Rouda Katie Porter Lucy McBath Redistricting Sean Casten
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