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Before the 2016 election, CA-45 in the heart of Orange County was a reliably red district. Residents voted in favor of Republicans by double digits. Even President Obama couldn’t break the cycle as an incumbent, losing to Mitt Romney by nearly 12 points. But 2016 was different with Hillary Clinton taking the district. Then, in 2018, disaster struck for the local GOP as incumbent Mimi Walters lost to Democrat Katie Porter by four points.
Fast forward a year and the likely general election competitor for Porter has emerged. Laguna Hills Mayor Don Sedgwick has the fundraising, name recognition, and policies to take back the district for the Republican Party.
Before leaving the district this year, I noticed a trend that was disturbing. Democrats were aggressive with ballot harvesting, phone bank calls, and door-to-door visits. I didn’t hear much from the GOP and nobody representing any Republican campaigns knocked on my door at all from 2016 through 2018. The grassroots effort by the GOP was non-existent. Sedgwick plans on changing that.
He has one major advantage over Porter. He’s not a socialist. In a single term, Porter has established herself as a radical progressive who longs to be part of “The Squad” with the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley.
Sedgwick is the polar opposite of a socialist.
“I’ve run a successful business, I’m not a socialist, I’ve been a successful Mayor and I actually live in the district,” he said. “That pretty much separates me from everyone else in the field, including Katie Porter.”
The field is large and there’s still time for it to get larger. But California opted to influence the presidential election by moving its primary up to March 3, 2020, so anyone not in the race already is very much behind the eight-ball. That will play well for Sedgwick as the top fundraiser in the Republican field so far. Most importantly, he’s doing it with zero debt, a trait he intends to carry over with him on Capitol Hill.
I asked him about his priorities if elected.
“I want to secure our borders, end veteran homelessness and start passing responsible budgets,” he replied. “In fact, I’ve made a campaign pledge to not take a paycheck if Congress fails to pass a budget. I’ve led by example my entire career and I will continue to do so in Congress.”
One can tell a lot about a politician by who they endorse for other offices. Porter is endorsing hyper-leftist Elizabeth Warren and supports her proposals for Medicare-for-All, reparations, “free” college tuition, and open borders. Porter sees the Massachusetts Senator as a mentor, having studied under her in college. She even named her daughter after Warren.
Sedgwick’s priorities are very different from Porter’s. He recognizes that the GOP needs wins all across the area and he believes he’s the best person to deliver CA-45 back to conservatives.
“My top priority is to make the 45th District red again,” Sedgwick said. “Fortunately, there are excellent Republican candidates running in other Orange County congressional districts, so I know I’m not alone. But replacing the incumbent Democrat Socialist with me, a reasonable conservative, will go a long way to reminding Orange County voters why they’ve chosen Republicans consistently for years and reminding voters that responsible, Republican leadership is what made Orange County the great place it is today. I will lead by example and provide solutions that work.”
If the GOP has any shot at winning back control of the House of Representatives in 2020, they’ll need some big wins to take back districts in Orange County. CA-45, with Don Sedgwick, seems ripe to take away from Democratic socialist Katie Porter.
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