STUDIO CITY (CBSLA) — An incumbent GOP congressman in Orange County who has served for nearly 30 years is fighting a competitive race for reelection, and with his latest homophobic remarks, he has lost the support of a national trade group.
The Orange County Register reported Thursday that Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has lost the political endorsement of the National Association of Realtors after he told a local trade group earlier this month that he would oppose extending the Fair Housing Act to gays and lesbians.
A former president for the Orange County Association of Realtors quoted the representative of California’s 48th Congressional District, saying that at a May 16 meeting, Rohrabacher told those present, “Every homeowner should be able to make a decision not to sell their home to someone [if] they don’t agree with their lifestyle,” the paper reported.
The NAR, which campaign filings show donated $5,000 for Rohrabacher’s reelection bid, told the Southern California News Group, “After reviewing all new, relevant information, it was determined that Rep. Rohrabacher will no longer receive support from NAR’s President’s Circle.”
Rohrabacher said the loss of NAR’s endorsement “can’t do [him] any good,” adding, “It’s sad to see [NAR’s] priority is standing in solidarity with making sure a stamp of approval is put on somebody’s private lifestyle,” the Register reported.
The congressman maintained he is not anti-gay, but said “there are some fundamentalist Christians who do not approve of their lifestyle. I support their rights.”
Rohrabacher met last week with OC realtors who asked him to support H.R. 1447. The measure would “extend the protections of the Fair Housing Act to persons suffering discrimination on the basis of sex or sexual orientation, and for other purposes,” according to the bill’s language.
The Register reported Rohrabacher differentiated between discrimination based on race, sex and religion, which he opposes, and that based on a person’s lifestyle or political beliefs.
Rohrabacher, whose district encompasses the coastal OC cities of Huntington Beach, Seal Beach and Laguna Beach, among others, is running against 15 other candidates in the June 5 primary for this year’s midterms, among them Democrats.
The Voice of OC quoted an expert Thursday who said the November race will probably come down to 15-term incumbent Rohrbacher, Republican Scott Baugh, and Democrats Hans Keirstead and Harley Rouda.
Rouda, who happens to be the son of the former president of the NAR, the late Harley Rouda, Sr., called Rohrabacher’s statements “outlandish and unacceptable,” adding, “What Dana Rohrabacher fails to understand is discrimination is discrimination,” the Register reported.
On Thursday, Rouda got a hand from Hollywood actor Jason Alexander. A video posted to YouTube by the Rouda campaign shows a mock debate moderated by Alexander in which Rohrabacher, depicted on a screen in file footage, stumbles through his discussions of topics such as climate change, health care and immigration.
Rohrabacher also made headlines this week for his continued defense of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, a figure even the White House considers persona non grata, but whom the congressman called a “very honorable man.”
Assange has promised to provide information that would clear Russia of wrongdoing in the ongoing investigation of the country’s interference in the 2016 presidential election if he can leave his current home, an Ecuadorian embassy, without being arrested by the U.S.
The Australian national has been under investigation since Wikileaks published thousands of files stolen by then intelligence officer Chelsea Manning.