Since Dana Rohrabacher (R-Podval Sauna) was first elected to Congress in 1988 and has won re-election every two years since, the Weekly has seen come and go many Democratic Party challengers who seemed at least on the outside to be competent and worthy foes. Come Election Day, Rohrabacher crushed ’em all. The eight Democrats running against him now must never forget that.
Rohrabacher has also rolled over Republicans who challenged him in primaries. Hoping to change that is fellow Make America Great Again booster Stelian Onufrei, a Romania-born businessman who argues that his 30-year-incumbent challenger is an entrenched, out-of-touch D.C. politician.
The Onufrei campaign recently trumpeted a $92,000 advertisement buy from Spectrum Reach/Ad Link of Southern California. Five different 30-second ads will debut April 30 and be featured on FOX News Channel, CNN, Home and Garden Television Network, History Channel, and Bravo Channel throughout Orange County.
The 2,814 spots covered by Onufrei’s initial ad buy come as Rohrabacher has drawn bipartisan fire for being too cozy with the Russian government. Respected election handicappers have cited that as making him vulnerable despite his long string of overwhelming victories. Asked whether the new spots will pile on Rohrabacher, Onufrei’s senior adviser and communications director, Randy Economy, answered, “Our ad campaign is going to focus in on the life and accomplishments of Stelian Onufrei, and why he represents the future, instead of dwelling upon Dana Rohrabacher’s past antics. We’re not going to waste our campaign resources on talking about Dana Rohrabacher. People know who he is. We’re going to talk about the future of America and why Stelian has the compassion and the ability to make a difference in the lives of all residents from all walks of life in the 48th Congressional District.”
An examination of Onufrei campaign press releases and social-media posts parrot Rohrabacher by being strongly pro-Trump, dubious of DACA and outright hostile to sanctuary cities. The upstart candidate does take shots where he can, blasting Rohrabacher for being pro-cannabis and anti-the Trump tax plan. As for Russia, you will find this line on www.votestelian.com: “America needs to continue to show strength to those seeking to destroy us such as Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and others.” And on his Facebook page Sept. 13, 2017, he linked to a Steven Seagal interview on YouTube, in which the puffy former action star claimed to share Rohrabacher’s views on Russia, including that “the Cold War is a fantasy and a hoax.” Wrote Onufrei: “Very revealing comments about Congressman Rohrabacher from his close friend Steven Seagal. I lived under communism, and believe me, the Cold War was very real. Russia of today is not far from the USSR of the past. The 48th District needs new leadership!”
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.