SB 710 Freeway Closed Near Commerce Due to Big Rig Spill
How to Help Those Affected by SoCal Brush Fires

Democrat Harley Rouda Seeks to Unseat Longtime GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in Battleground District

At left, Democratic congressional candidate Harley Rouda speaks at an election rally in Fullerton on Oct. 4, 2018. At right, incumbent GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher speaks to the media after leaving a Republican conference meeting on Capitol Hill, June 7, 2018. (Credit: Mario Tama / Alex Wong / Getty Images)

At left, Democratic congressional candidate Harley Rouda speaks at an election rally in Fullerton on Oct. 4, 2018. At right, incumbent GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher speaks to the media after leaving a Republican conference meeting on Capitol Hill, June 7, 2018. (Credit: Mario Tama / Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Many across the nation are eyeing the race for California’s 48th Congressional District, representing an affluent swath of coastal Orange County between Seal Beach and Laguna Niguel, as Democrats seek to gain control of the House of Representatives.

The area, centered on Costa Mesa, has become more diverse and liberal since incumbent Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher was first elected to his seat 30 years ago. And in contrast, Rohrabacher, formerly known for his libertarian leanings, has verged increasingly to the right in recent years.

His challenger is Democrat Harley Rouda, a lawyer and real estate businessman.

Rouda was registered as a Republican for decades and donated to GOP presidential hopeful John Kasich during in 2016, the New York Times reported. But he’s also garnered the support of Indivisible, a progressive movement founded after the 2016 election, and voiced support for measures such as Medicare for all U.S. residents — including undocumented immigrants.

Democrats need to flip 23 seats to gain control of the House, and California’s 48th is one of four in Orange County the party is aiming to claim. Republicans still have a 10-point advantage in voter registration, but the district went to Hillary Clinton in 2016 by 2 points.

The race is the sixth most expensive for the House this year, with Rouda raising nearly three times as much as Rohrabacher, according to public database OpenSecrets.org.

Read more on the issue-by-issue differences between the candidates here and coverage of their recent debate here.