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Your guide to California’s Congressional District 47 race: The contest for Katie Porter’s seat

In World
February 01, 2024

The race in California’s 47th Congressional District has a large field of Democratic candidates vying for the House seat currently held by Democratic Rep. Katie Porter. Porter is running for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Dianne Feinstein, who died last year.

In this affluent, largely coastal district covering a large swath of Orange County, Democrats have a slight voter registration edge over Republicans. Porter, a prolific fundraiser, narrowly beat back a challenge in 2022 from Republican Scott Baugh, who is again vying for the seat.

Who are the candidates?

Baugh, who is endorsed by the California Republican Party, led the Orange County GOP as its chairman from 2004 to 2015. The Huntington Beach attorney also served in the California Assembly from 1995 to 2000. In 1999, Baugh agreed to pay a civil fine of $47,900 for nine violations of the state Political Reform Act, stemming from misconduct allegations in his 1995 election to the Assembly.

In 2018, Baugh unsuccessfully ran to unseat former GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, but placed fourth in the primary election. In media interviews, Baugh has said he opposes abortion and same-sex marriage. On his campaign website, he describes himself as a “voice for limited, constitutional government” and says he’s running on a platform of lower taxes and stronger borders.

Min, a former UC Irvine law professor, has served in the state Senate since 2020. After graduating from Harvard Law School, he worked for the Securities and Exchange Commission as an enforcement attorney. He later served as an economic and financial policy advisor to Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, the current majority leader. Min, who is endorsed by Porter and the California Democratic Party, ran for Congress in 2018, but came in third place in the primary behind incumbent Republican Rep. Mimi Walters and Porter, who went on to win the seat.

Min was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence last year. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to three years of informal probation. In a Facebook post at the time, he apologized to his family and constituents, calling his decision to get behind the wheel “irresponsible.”

During his time in the state Senate, Min has written or co-written legislation that has tightened laws on firearms, granted support to victims of human trafficking and expanded punishment for companies that commit environmental crimes. His legislative priorities include gun violence prevention, protecting reproductive rights, combating climate change, improving public safety, assisting small businesses, investing in public education and confronting anti-Asian hatred, according to his campaign website.

A political newcomer, Ukropina previously headed Float, the company behind the credit-sharing app for couples. In a campaign video filmed at the U.S.-Mexico border, Ukropina called for the completion of a border wall as well as a “complete overhaul” of the immigration system. He says his other legislative priorities include lowering the national debt, reducing crime and lowering energy costs.

Weiss is a former litigator and adjunct professor at Chapman University School of Law, where she taught pretrial civil procedure and public interest law. She served on the board of directors of the Public Law Center, a nonprofit that provides legal assistance to low-income people, for more than a decade; and founded Women for American Values and Ethics, or WAVE, a group that promotes social welfare and advances progressive causes and candidates.

Weiss, who has secured endorsements from several California members of Congress and Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, said she’s running “to work for a better future for our kids,” who “deserve reproductive freedom, a livable planet, and an economy that works for everyone.” Her legislative priorities include protecting California’s coast, strengthening social security, ensuring reproductive freedom and providing tax relief to working families.

Also running are:

  • Terry L. Crandall, no party preference, economics professor

  • Thomas McGrath, no party preference, chemical engineer

  • Long Pham, Republican, businessman and nuclear engineer

  • Boyd Roberts, Democrat, business owner and publisher

  • Bill Smith, no party preference, retired general counsel

  • Shariq Zaidi, Democrat, security officer

Where is the district?

This affluent Orange County district runs along the coast from Seal Beach south to Laguna Beach, and reaches inland to the cities of Costa Mesa and Irvine — including the UC Irvine campus — as well as parts of Laguna Hills and the retirement community of Laguna Woods.

Affordability

Baugh pledges to ease tax burdens, reduce debt and lower prices as ways to improve the economy, saying “high regulations, rising inflation, and trillion-dollar spending are what’s causing the high cost of living.” He did not support the Inflation Reduction Act signed into law by President Biden in 2022, but told The Times in an interview that a better way to combat high prices was to “stop the runaway spending that’s going on in Washington, where every progressive spending itch gets scratched.”

Min told The Times that he supports policies to increase the supply of affordable housing and expand parental leave and child-care support. He said he would “seek to address key structural causes of inflation, such as over-reliance on foreign supply chains and the rise of monopolies.” During his time in the state Senate, he co-sponsored Senate Bill 87 to create the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, which provided millions in grant money to small businesses during the pandemic.

Read more: What’s on the 2024 California primary election ballot?

Weiss said her legislative priorities include tax relief for working families, including reforming the SALT deduction — the federal tax deduction that families can take to offset state and local taxes, which was limited to $10,000 a year by Republicans’ 2017 tax bill — as well as stemming the rising costs of goods.

Ukropina vows to fight any legislation or regulation that would result in more inflation. “We can slash federal spending, address our debt crisis and terminate Washington’s culture of unending, unaccountable omnibus bills,” he told The Times.

Abortion

A month before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade in 2022, Baugh told the Orange County Register that he believes “life begins at conception.”

“Others may disagree as to precisely when life begins, but there should be no disagreement as to whether it is okay to abort children who have reached the point of viability,” he told the newspaper. Several weeks later, he told NBC News that he supports federal limitations on abortion after the first trimester of pregnancy.

Min supports nationwide abortion rights that would prevent states from outlawing the procedure. After the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, he co-wrote legislation that California voters approved in 2022 to codify abortion rights in the state Constitution.

“This Supreme Court is trying to dictate what happens with our bodies, in our bedrooms and in our relationships, and we in California will fight against this massive intrusion into our private lives,” Min wrote in a statement after the justices’ decision was leaked in May 2022.

Weiss told The Times she supports nationwide abortion rights. She wrote on X last year that her grandmother needed an abortion in the 1940s. “Now, in 2023, my daughters are at risk of losing a right that we’ve had for 50 years. We must protect our daughters and our future generations by winning back the House in 2024 and finally codifying Roe vs Wade,” she wrote.

Ukropina told The Times he favors leaving abortion laws up to state governments and would not vote for any changes to the current federal law.

Political independent Crandall and Republican Pham also told The Times they favor leaving abortion up to states. Democrat Roberts and independent McGrath both back nationwide abortion rights that would prevent states from outlawing the procedure.

Related coverage

Read more: State Sen. Dave Min announces bid for congressional seat in coastal Orange County

Read more: Community activist announces congressional bid in Orange County’s already contested CA-47

Read more: Newport Beach businessman announces bid for seat in CA-47

How and where to vote

Read more California election guides

More election news

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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