In the 48th congressional district, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, the Costa Mesa Republican, stands for reelection against Democratic challenger Sue Savary, a first-time office-seeker, whom the incumbent bested in their June primary by a nearly 3-to-1 margin.
We think Ms. Savary would be worthy of support were she vying to represent a preponderantly Democratic district. But in the decidedly Republican 48th – which includes all or part of Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Aliso Viejo and Laguna Niguel – the Register thinks Rep. Rohrabacher the better choice.
Having served in the House of Representatives for much of the past quarter-century, the former speech writer for President Ronald Reagan has long been caricaturized by Democrats, unfairly so, as a right-wing ideologue.
Yes, Mr. Rohrabacher has warned that Obamacare “will addict the American people to socialism and make us dependent on the federal bureaucracy.” He also has decried climate change as “liberal Left fraud.” And he has adamantly opposed “any form of amnesty toward any individuals here illegally.”
But the longtime Orange County congressman also has taken positions on a range of issues that hardly can be considered right-wing or particularly ideological, stands that even Democrats would embrace.
Indeed, Rep. Rohrabacher applauded the Obama administration for expedited approvals of solar energy projects “at a time when the need for renewable energy is so important.” He also told us, “The president’s (strategy) on ISIL is good: American air power and foreign boots on the ground.”
He supported extension of four higher-education tax benefits. And he played an instrumental role in bipartisan passage this year of a House appropriations bill forbidding use of federal funds to prevent states from implementing laws authorizing “use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
So, on some issues, Rep. Rohrabacher, indeed, is conservative. But on others he is much less so. And that explains why he rates as the 134th most-conservative member of Congress’ lower chamber, according to National Journal.
We think that Mr. Rohrabacher’s independent streak, his willingness to part ways with his fellow Republicans on certain issues – like his exhortation that the GOP demonstrate itself “the party against crony capitalism” – accounts for the support he has enjoyed among his constituents over the course of his quarter-century of service in the nation’s capital.
The congressman has represented his district well. And he deserves reelection.