Two Laguna Beach businessmen have announced candidacies to replace Orange County's senior career politician: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa).
In February, Harley E. Rouda Jr. and Boyd Lachlan Roberts notified the Federal Election Commission (FEC) of their planned campaigns to win the Democratic Party nomination for the 2018 election in a coastal district gerrymandered to favor Republican candidates, according to The Indy newspaper.
Rohrabacher, who skipped Vietnam War military service but claims he once bled during a vacation meeting with Afghanistan soldiers, first won election in 1988 running on a campaign advocating a maximum of three terms and is now expected to seek his third decade in the nation's capital.
Rouda—a 55-year-old business consultant and philanthropist living in the exclusive Emerald Bay community—says his campaign is diametrically opposite of Rohrabacher's stances on climate change, public education, clean energy and human rights.
His early message: "Our county deserves better. Let's send a message to Washington that the people are in charge—not the politicians."
Known for a long series of oddball conduct around the world, Rohrabacher wept in support of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, an enemy of democracy, at an August 2013 conservative community forum in Costa Mesa.
Roberts, a self-described political junkie and real estate broker, created a YouTube video where he calls President Donald Trump "a bully" and notes that Rohrabacher's seat is one of 23 spots nationwide where Hillary Clinton won the 2016 vote in a majority Republican district.
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The congressman, who has solicited off-the-books donations from federal contractors and lobbyists for his kids' birthday parties, reported he entered this year with $238,000 in campaign cash-on-hand, according to the FEC.
In recent weeks, Rohrabacher dodged meetings with angry constituents, who've created an informative, entertaining website: crazydana.com.