Rep. Katie Porter keeps Orange County seat over Scott Baugh

Irvine Rep. Katie Porter, a rising star in the Democratic Party, fended off a challenge from Republican Scott Baugh, a former state legislator, to secure her third term in Congress.

The Associated Press called Thursday’s race, although official results will be longer. Control of the House of Representatives went to Republicans on Wednesday; Now California’s remaining congressional elections will determine the size of the GOP’s majority.

“Families can count on me to continue to stand up for them, speak truth to those in power and fight corporate abuse,” Porter said on Twitter Wednesday night.

The battle for the 47th congressional district remained relatively under the radar for most of the election cycle, but has turned into a hard-fought campaign in recent weeks as Republicans gained momentum in a series of California congressional elections.

Porter, 48, was swept into Congress in 2018 as part of that year’s blue wave and quickly built a profile that stretched beyond Orange County. Her appearances at congressional hearings, where she wields a whiteboard and asks tough questions of leaders and officials in the Trump administration, have often gone viral. Her national prominence became a fundraising juggernaut; She was one of the House of Representatives’ top fundraisers this election cycle.

However, Porter’s success on the national stage belied the challenging terrain back home in Orange County. Democrats won four congressional races in the longtime conservative stronghold in 2018 and surpassed Republicans in county voter registration a year later. But the GOP regained two congressional seats in 2020, despite Joe Biden winning there with ease, a sign that a significant number of voters rejected former President Trump, not the Republican Party in a big way.

The redistribution presented Porter with additional challenges. Two-thirds of the district’s voters had never seen her on a ballot before, and the boundaries included conservative enclaves like Huntington Beach and Newport Beach, and the more liberal Irvine, where Porter lives.

Baugh, 60, ran a campaign reminiscent of his party’s pre-Trump version. The county’s former GOP leader made a fiscally conservative pitch that hammered his opponent on inflation and crime. Porter attacked Baugh’s opposition to abortion rights and touted Democrats’ work to address prescription drug costs.

Baugh raised $2.4 million for his campaign but was supported by more than $8 million in advertising from two GOP-affiliated outside groups: the Club for Growth and the Congressional Leadership Fund, which works with Republican leader of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy.

Porter’s national fame helped her build an impressive war chest. She raised more than $22 million between January 2021 and mid-October 2022, more than half of which came from small donations.

The fundraiser was widely viewed as a reserve for a possible future candidacy for higher offices such as the US Senate. But the cash reserves came in handy for Porter to run more than $11 million worth of television ads in the pricey Los Angeles media market over the final two months of the campaign.

Times contributor Seema Mehta contributed to this report. Rep. Katie Porter keeps Orange County seat over Scott Baugh

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