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RESULTS: First-term Democratic Rep. Katie Porter projected to keep her seat in California’s 45th Congressional District

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First-term Rep. Katie Porter is projected to defend her House seat against Republican Greg Raths in Califronia’s 45th Congressional District.

The candidates

Before being elected to office, Porter was a consumer protection attorney for almost 20 years. In 2012, she was appointed by then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris to become the state’s independent banks watchdog during a $25 billion national mortgage servicing settlement.

In 2018, Porter defeated two-term incumbent Mimi Walters as part of a Democratic sweep of Orange County, making Porter the first Democrat to ever represent the state’s 45th Congressional District. Since joining the House, she has become nationally known for her pointed questions during congressional hearings.

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Raths, Porter’s challenger, was a member of the US Marine Corps for 27 years before retiring. He later served as the mayor of Mission Viejo for one year. Raths’ campaign platform is centered upon supporting veterans, increasing border security, and affordable healthcare.

The district

California’s 45th Congressional District is located in the southern region of the state. It is home to Orange County and all of the cities of Irvine, Laguna Hills, Lake Forest, North Tustin, and Villa Park. The district also includes parts of Anaheim Orange, Laguna Woods, Laguna Niguel, and Mission Viejo.

In the 2016 presidential election, the district voted Hillary Clinton over President Donald Trump in a 50-44% split.

The money race

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Porter has raised $14.7 million, spent $5.3 million, and has around $9.4 million in cash on hand. Raths has raised $1.2 million, spent $1 million, and has around $212,000 in cash on hand.

Porter, a law professor, has already made a name for herself in the House for her incisive questioning skills of witnesses in committee hearings.

Election 2020: Rep. Katie Porter declares victory over Greg Raths in 45th congressional district

Porter was heavily favored to win reelection, but Raths pushed for the once-solid GOP district to swing back to red.

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Democratic Rep. Katie Porter declared victory Tuesday — after the Associated Press called the contest — over GOP challenger Greg Raths in the race to represent California’s 45th congressional district.

“I’ve so enjoyed this spirited campaign, hearing the voices of Orange County families, and I’m honored to have earned their trust for another term,” Porter said following the win. “I will always put working people first, and I will continue to fight for them and for accountability in Washington.”

Porter had been heavily favored to win reelection. The former UC Irvine law professor has become a fundraising powerhouse and national name since she beat two-term incumbent Republican Mimi Walters to flip the district blue for the first time in 2018.

But Raths, a Mission Viejo councilman who defeated five other GOP challengers in the March primary, insisted his conservative brand of politics was a better fit for the central Orange County district that now leans red by just 2,500 voters, or 0.5%.

About the 45th District

Boundaries: Stretches from Mission Viejo north to include portions of Anaheim, and from the canyon areas west to Irvine

Voter registration: 35.1% Republican, 34.6% Democrat, 25.6% independent

Demographics: 70.6% White,16.2% Asian American, 12.7% Latino, 0.6% Black

2016 pick for president: Hillary Clinton

2018 House vote: 52.1% for Katie Porter, 47.9% for Republican incumbent Mimi Walters

Porter, 46, grew up on a farm in Iowa. She studied under future Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren as she pursued a law degree from Harvard, with a focus on bankruptcy and consumer protection law. After practicing law and teaching in several different cities, Porter was recruited in 2011 by UC Irvine to teach at its new law school.

Soon after the move, then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris appointed Porter to be the state’s independent monitor of banks. She helped oversee mortgage industry reforms in the wake of the financial crisis — and started to gain a national profile.

As a House member Porter has introduced legislation aimed at increasing consumer protection, boosting health care and lowering drug prices. While she’s been active on the legislative front, it’s videos of Porter grilling executives and Trump officials that have helped Porter pull in more in donations than any other Democrat in a competitive district. She raised more than $15 million this cycle, plus she’s drawn significant outside support from groups such as End Citizens United.

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Raths raised $1.3 million to challenge Porter.

He was born and raised in Phoenix. He joined the Marines and was a first lieutenant in 1977 when he moved to Orange County, as he was assigned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at the Marine Corps Air Station in El Toro. During his career, he flew combat missions and commanded a fighter squadron aboard several ships. He also served three years as chief of staff and chief financial officer of The White House Military Office before retiring at the rank of colonel in 2004.

After military service, Raths moved back to Mission Viejo and worked as a commercial airline pilot with Jet Blue Airways. He later became president of an automobile parts distribution company.

Raths entered politics when he was elected to Mission Viejo City Council in 2014, serving as mayor in 2019. He’s touted the city’s low crime rate and balanced budget during his campaign.

Raths also ran for the CA-45 seat in 2016, challenging GOP incumbent Walters. He failed to advance out of the primary, earning 19.2% of the vote to Walters’ 40.9%.

He campaigned this cycle on plans to permanently lower individual taxes, raise business deductions, end benefits for undocumented immigrants and lower healthcare costs.

Raths congratulated Porter on social media Wednesday.

“It was a tough loss for me, but I want to thank Katie for a fair and clean race,” he said. “I wish you well Katie representing us in California’s 45th Congressional District.”

Election 2020: Rep. Katie Porter declares victory over Greg Raths in 45th congressional district Porter was heavily favored to win reelection, but Raths pushed for the once-solid GOP district to ]]>