Democratic Rep. Katie Porter and former GOP Assembly leader Scott Baugh were out in front, as expected, as early results were posted Tuesday night in the primary race for Orange County’s coastal 47th House District.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to continue hearing from and earning the votes of Orange County families,” read a statement from Porter, who was in Washington, D.C. to prepare for votes related to gun violence prevention as the results came in.
“Our team works hard to run a spirited campaign about my work to restore trust in government, hold greedy corporations accountable, and protect taxpayer dollars. I’m looking forward to the weeks and months ahead.”
Baugh, who was at a campaign party in Newport Beach, said in reaction to the news, “Joe Biden and Katie Porter have brought us record inflation, record gas prices, record crime and record illegal immigration. It’s time for change. Orange County wants it, America wants it and I’ll deliver it.”
In a distant third place was Republican Brian Burley, with fellow GOP challenger Amy Phan West in fourth and Errol Webber trailing far behind as votes continued to be tallied.
The two candidates who get the most votes after all primary ballots are counted will advance to the decisive November election. That vote will determine who will represent a politically mixed district that goes from Seal Beach south to Laguna Beach, picking up Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Irvine along the way.
Although voter registration in CA-47 only favors Democrats by 1.4 points, forecasters initially rated the seat as “likely Democratic,” figuring Porter’s national profile and resources as one of the most prodigious fundraisers in the House — with more than $15.2 million in donations this cycle alone — would help her keep the seat. But some experts recently shifted their rating to “lean Democratic” as issues such as high gas prices and inflation have put Democrats nationwide in a less favorable position.
Either way, primary results still were expected to favor Porter, since she was the only Democrat in the race while the four challengers had to divvy up the GOP vote.
Porter, a former University of California, Irvine law professor who lives in Irvine, has focused her campaign in recent weeks on issues such as reproductive and LGBTQ rights, corporate accountability, gun control and environmental protections. Her pinned campaign tweet on election day was about refusing to accept donations from corporate PACs, saying lobbyists “better bring ideas — not their checkbooks.”
Baugh, an attorney who lives in Huntington Beach, has raised $1.5 million this cycle. His campaign has focused on border security, reining in government spending, school choice and slamming Porter. His pinned campaign tweet was a video that appears to show undocumented immigrants arriving on an Orange County beach by boat, with Baugh speculating that they “could be terrorists or human traffickers.”
Burley posted the next-highest fundraising total, with $369,093 in donations. The Huntington Beach resident owns his own information technology business and has a platform focused on lower taxes, illegal immigration and support for law enforcement and the military. He hasn’t tweeted in months, but a mass text from his campaign focused on attacking Baugh over past controversies.
Next up was West, also of Huntington Beach, who raised $172,544 this cycle. She’s a refugee from Vietnam and runs a car rental operation with her husband. Her campaign has centered on support for gun rights, fighting abortion rights, securing the border and shrinking government. Her pinned tweet was a campaign ad that discusses fleeing Vietnam and claiming Democrats are trying to bring Communism to America.
Webber reported $26,636 in contributions. The Costa Mesa resident’s campaign platform targets border security, gun rights, voter ID laws and reducing taxes. His pinned tweet touted an endorsement from General Michael Flynn, former national security adviser to President Donald Trump. He also recently tweeted, then deleted, speculation that Democrats might have orchestrated the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas to advance “their agenda.”