In support of his characterization, Dornan claims that an Orange County Republican official recently called his wife Sallie on Rohrabacher's behalf. "The guy tried to lean on her to get me out of this race," he said. "It was absurd . . . I've been told I'm a legitimate celebrity. Dana is a wannabe."
If the story is true, it demonstrates naivety in the Rohrabacher camp. Dornan—who loves blood, sweat and a large body count in his campaigns—is rarely if ever intimidated. He sees such moves as first-round weakness in what he believes will evolve into "a tough family fight." But Dornan's already dreaming of his return to Congress, where he'll "add some color and [bring] principles back to the place." On a yellow legal-sized notepad he carried to the registrar's office, he'd written himself a note, "RKD . . . a moment in history."
Rohrabacher should pour himself a tall drink. Regardless of his frontrunner status, the next 80 days are sure to be painful. The Dornan family is energized and, with them, politics is personal. And then there's this looming fact: since his first successful campaign in 1976, Dornan has never lost a Republican congressional primary.
"Dana calls himself the 'surfing congressman,' but in all my years of knowing him, I've only heard of him Boogie boarding," said Dornan. "You know that photo he uses all the time to brag that he's been up on a surfboard? Did you ever notice there's no real wave? I think there must have been a guy under the water holding him up."
Fans of brass-knuckled politics will be looking for blood in the water.