Representative Katie Porter made waves in 2018 when she won a reliably red district in Orange County, California. CA-45 voted for Mitt Romney over incumbent President Obama by an 11.8% margin, but the tide has been turning in the OC thanks in large part to Democrats mastering ballot harvesting. Now, she’s risking her own reelection bid by going as far to the left as possible with an upcoming endorsement for Senator Elizabeth Warren to be the Democratic nominee.
Even though she lives in a relatively conservative district in a state whose Senator, Kamala Harris, is also running for President, it’s not surprising Porter is endorsing Warren. She’s known her for a long time, having been in one of her courses at Harvard. And with Harris fading in the polls, Warren seems like the more likely nominee between the two. Porter even named her daughter Elizabeth after her former mentor.
In an interview earlier this year, Porter recounted a conversation she had with Warren while walking with her in Cambridge. “Professor Warren, I’m interested in possibly becoming a law professor,” she said. “And she instantly was like: ‘This is what we can do, have you thought about this, do you know so-and-so, would you be willing to do this opportunity?’ And within a matter of literally five minutes as we briskly walked through Harvard Square, she had helped me plot out the next steps that I needed to achieve my dream. So she’s been a wonderful mentor to me my entire career.”
Despite the personal attachment, the endorsement could make it challenging for Porter in next year’s election. Orange County is still getting used to no longer being the conservative stronghold in a deep blue state. Local Republican leaders have vowed to reverse the trend before it gets worse and have agreed to participate in some of the techniques the Democrats used to take control.
As a rising star in the Democratic Party nationally, it behooves Katie Porter to let her radical progressive nature shine. But at home in Orange County, she may be establishing herself as too far left for her district to send back in 2020.
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