IRVINE (CBSLA) – There’s a big race brewing in Orange County for the 45th District seat between freshman Democratic Rep. Katie Porter and her Republican challenger, Mission Viejo City Councilman Greg Raths.
Porter has made a name for herself on Capitol Hill with her whiteboard and tough questioning of White House administration officials, like her grilling of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield back in March.
Those moments have put the single mother and former UC Irvine law professor on the map and should get her reelected in November, political analysts say.
“I would be very surprised if she loses, she’s one of the more high-profile freshman, she’s gained a lot of notoriety questioning of Trump administration officials,” Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson said.
The 45th District includes Irvine, Tustin, Laguna Hills and Lake Forest.
“That is still a Republican seat in terms of registration,” Loyola Marymount political science professor Dr. Fernando Guerra argues. “If anything, that’s the one that people should focus on, the Republicans should focus on taking it back.”
Porter’s opponent, Raths, is a retired Marine colonel and current Mission Viejo city councilman.
“We feel really good we can get this seat back,” Raths said.
“What makes us apart is I’ve been here like 40 years, she’s been here I think like 10 or 11,” Raths explained. “She came from Iowa. She’s very liberal, more on the left-leaning side. I’m more right, more conservative, and I believe that’s what this district is made of.
Porter, who back in 2012 was appointed by then California Attorney General Kamala Harris to monitor banks in a multimillion-dollar settlement for consumers, told CBSLA she fights for everyday Americans.
“We all have an interest in making sure our tax dollars are being spent wisely,” Porter said.
“We all have an interest in making sure witnesses are telling the truth to Congress, so I think my work in terms of oversight and accountability is something that I hope to be able to earn votes on across party lines.”
When Greg Raths was mayor of Mission Viejo, he went undercover and drove for Lyft, asking riders their opinions of his city. Raths cites his deep roots in the district and conservative politics as a winning combination.
“I think people are going to think twice before they vote for a Democrat this time,” Raths said. “I think they’re really going to look at a Republican. My ballot designation is retired Marine colonel. Its going to show that I’ve been a leader, I’ve commanded a Marine airwing, a Marine air crew. I’ve had leadership.
Mail ballots will be sent out to O.C. voters on Oct. 5.