Though California’s 45th Congressional District has reliably voted Republicans into the House of Representatives every election since it was formed in 1983, a strong showing by Democrats in this year’s primary has drawn national attention to the race as the GOP seeks to maintain control of the legislature.
The race to represent Irvine, Tustin, Lake Forest and Mission Viejo is between two suburban white women, two-term incumbent GOP Rep. Mimi Walters and Democrat Katie Porter.
Walters, a former investment banker, won in 2016 by 17 percentage points. But that same year, the district went for Hillary Clinton by more than 5 points after Mitt Romney won there by 12 points in 2012.
In the last four years, Republicans’ registration advantage in the district has fallen 8 percentage points as it’s seen an influx of Asian-American and Latino voters.
But Walters maintained support for Trump on issues such as repealing the Affordable Care Act and overhauling the tax code. According to the New Yorker, she’s voted with the president 99 percent of the time.
Porter, a professor and consumer protection lawyer, came out on top as the most progressive of Democratic candidates in this year’s primary. She strongly supports single-payer health care and promises to fight to overturn the Republican tax plan.
She studied under Sen. Elizabeth Warren at Harvard Law School and was backed by the senator in this year’s primary crowded with Democratic candidates.
Porter, with $5.8 million, has a slight fundraising edge over Walters, who has raised $4.4 million, according to the most recent reporting data.
Read more on the issue-by-issue differences between Walters and Porter here.