Starting in January, a Democrat will represent this former Republican stronghold in California.
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), a man once rumored to be on Vladimir Putin's payroll, will not be returning to Congress in January. Businessman and democratic nominee Harley Rouda ousted Rohrabacher, currently leading by more than 8,500 votes, or 4 percent.
After 30 years in Congress, Rohrabacher ends his career mired in the muck of multiple controversies, not the least of which are his unseemly ties to Russia.
After the 2016 election, Rohrabacher clung to debunked fringe conspiracy theories in order to defend Russia's criminal activities. He routinely claimed U.S. intelligence agencies were lying, all the while defending Putin's blatant criminal activity.
Rohrabacher's name often comes up in the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller as Mueller investigates ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. Rohrabacher dined multiple times with an alleged Russian spy, and had to return campaign contributions from convicted felon Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman.
Beyond Russia, Rohrabacher regularly spouted racist propaganda about undocumented immigrants, staunchly defending Trump's racist policies.
But Rohrabacher's discriminatory attitudes did not stop there. During the 2018 campaign, he advocated in favor of housing discrimination against the LGBTQ community. That position lost him the backing of the National Association of Realtors, who withdrew their support.
Rohrabacher went into the election with a host of advantages. His Orange County district has a long tradition of electing Republicans. In fact, in his previous 15 races, Rohrabacher won by double-digits every time except one — in 2008 he won by 9.4 percent.
But in 2018, Rohrabacher was unable to surf the blue wave crashing onto the shores of his coastal California district, wiping out under the combined weight of his own scandals and voters' embrace of a progressive Democratic agenda.
Aside from highlighting Rohrabacher's numerous scandals, Rouda ran on a positive platform, pledging to protect and strengthen the Affordable Care Act, and to treat all immigrants with the dignity and decency fellow human beings deserve.
Rouda joins a growing majority in the House of Representatives, helping Democrats regain control of the chamber for the first time since 2010.
In the lead-up to the 2016 election, fellow California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy speculated that two people were on Putin's payroll: Rohrabacher and Trump.
Thanks to the voters of California, one of Putin's top puppets will no longer be able to infiltrate the halls of power.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.