Photo by Brandon Bourdages via Shutterstock

The 45th Congressional District is situated in interior Southern California and encompasses the majority of Orange County including Irvine, Tustin, Villa Park, Laguna Hills and others. The demographic is majority white at 50%, with Asians and Hispanics amounting to 26% and 18% respectively. Blacks and other races account for the remaining at 6%. 

The district is upper-middle-class, with a median income of $102,040. 

Republicans make the partisan majority in this district, with a recent Cook PVI, marking an R+3 partisan average, and consequently making it the 211th most Republican congressional district nationally. 

 The Republican vote has declined 7 points since 2014, leading now to a concentration of Democratic voters permeating the UC Irvine college town area. since 2014, 

A likely cause being, the unconventional and at times indecorous style of Trump politics, which seems to lose the favor of District 45’s predominantly wealthy and highly-educated GOP constituency. 

Incumbent Katie Porter (D) won her electorate principally by way of the ‘blue wave’ phenomenon (a resurgence of previously inactive democratic voters). In 2018, beating then-incumbent Mimi Waters (R) by 4%, despite the historical redness of the area.

As of Oct. 27The Cook Political Report, Inside Elections and Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball have all projected an either ‘safe’ or ‘solid’ Democratic victory for Porter. 

Katie Porter

Porter is the incumbent of the district, currently serving out her first term. 

Porter is a tenured UC Irvine Bankruptcy Law professor with previous experience as a consumer protection attorney. She studied at Harvard Law School under Elizabeth Warren and served as a co-chair for her presidential campaign. Her policies are near facsimile to those of Warren’s.  

In addition to her academic work, Porter is well known for her pugnacious and well-calculated attacks on Big Banks and large corporations, at one time haranguing the JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon for his “$31 million dollar salary” while one of his own employees struggled to make ends meet.

Her adamant advocacy has yielded her some virality on social media, as well as generating large funding for her campaign in consequence. 

Porter is an aberrant electee in an otherwise historically Republican-leaning district, voted in by consequence of the 2018 ‘blue wave’ which flipped many Republican congressional seats blue. 

She is endorsed by former president Barack Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. 

Porter Issue Stances

Porter’s proposed left of center policies fall deeply in line with Elizabeth Warren’s

With regard to economics, Porter advocates for reform that “makes wealthy corporations pay their fair share and cuts taxes for the middle-class and small businesses.” Moreover, she seeks to repeal the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction cap which has been critiqued to significantly increase middle-class family tax rates.

Porter also advocates for a ‘Medicare for All’ system.  

“I will fight for a Medicare for All system in which every American has quality health insurance. I believe affordable health care is a human right and will fight Republican efforts to repeal ObamaCare,” Porter said.

Porter supports continued funding for Planned Parenthood and is a firm pro-choice proponent, declaring she will stop “efforts by Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood, restrict access to birth control, or ban the right to choose.” Reproductive healthcare and birth control, in her words, “is not a luxury.”

On gun reform, Porter says she stands for “common sense” gun laws to “keep our schools and communities safe.” Specifically, Porter wishes to ban assault weapons and establish mandatory background checks on all gun sales.

Greg Raths

Raths is a decorated Marine Corps veteran, who began his service in 1977 with the El Toro Marine Corps Air Division in Orange County. He eventually retired with the rank of colonel in 2004.  

Raths acted as the Assistant Chief of Staff of the White House Military Office from 1996-1997 where he directly channeled communication between the Commander-in-Chief and Pentagon, maintaining clarity “during extreme uncertainty.”

In 2014, Raths was elected to the Mission Viejo City Council and went on to become the mayor in 2019.

Raths is endorsed by Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and State Sen. Pat Bates.

Raths Issue Stances

In the domain of economics and tax policy, Raths is a stalwart advocate for small businesses, aiming to “let Americans keep more of what they earn and get the government out of the way.” 

Raths backs the restoration of a full SALT deduction cap, which was previously unlimited, but is now lessened to $10,000 in Calif. –– deleteriously increasing taxes for the middle class as a result. Raths says he will “fight to restore the full SALT deduction!”

On healthcare, Raths’ stances are geared toward the current insurance-based healthcare system.

He argues in favor of individual choice and rebukes government regulation of personal health care decisions. Rath, in summary, opposes Medicare for all, citing complete bureaucratic control over health care as unacceptable. Further desiring to “redirect money and power over health care decisions away from Washington and [returning] it to patients, local communities, and states.” 

“Just like no two patients are the same, no two states have the same health care populations and health care needs,” Raths said.“That one-size-fits-all thinking is one of the many failures of Obamacare.” 

Raths is a pro-second amendment candidate and cites the constitutional clause, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” as his guiding principle on the subject.

Projected Winners

As of Nov. 11, the projected winner is Porter with 89% of the votes in. 

Written ByDaniel Seidman

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