Capitol Alert

‘Putin’s favorite congressman’ could soon be an ex-congressman

U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Costa Mesa, lost the election to his Democratic opponent Harley Rouda in California’s 48th congressional district. Democratic victories in Orange County might be more about opposition to Donald Trump than an embrace of progressivism.
U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Costa Mesa, lost the election to his Democratic opponent Harley Rouda in California’s 48th congressional district. Democratic victories in Orange County might be more about opposition to Donald Trump than an embrace of progressivism. AP

He’s been called “Putin’s favorite congressman,” but if that’s true, the Russian president might soon have to find a new favorite: Pro-Russia Republican California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher appears to be headed for a narrow defeat against Democratic challenger Harley Rouda in California’s 48th congressional district.

Rouda is leading Rohrabacher 50.7 percent of the vote to 49.3 percent, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, according to the California Secretary of State’s Office. However, mail-in ballots can be received until Friday, and the final vote likely won’t be certified until December.

Rohrabacher earned his appellation for his dogged opposition of the Magnitsky Act, which barred members of the Vladimir Putin regime allegedly involved in the death of Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky from entering the U.S. or accessing American banks, according to Politico.

Rohrabacher even says he once drunkenly arm wrestled with Putin in the 1990s, according to ABC News.

Democratic House candidate Harley Rouda discusses the influence of money in politics and in his bid to unseat Congressman Dana Rohrabacher in the upcoming midterms.

Rohrabacher, a 15-term congressman, was so important to Russian interests that the Kremlin gave him his own code name, according to The New York Times.

Rouda, Rohrabacher’s likely successor in the U.S. House, is a former Republican and real estate executive who changed parties and said that “President Trump has changed everything,” according to The Daily Beast.

Andrew Sheeler: 805-781-7934, @andrewsheeler
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