Activists rally to flip O.C. House seat blue
GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher declined invite to ‘town hall,’ calling liberal group ‘a bunch of fascists.’
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) got a rock star’s reception Tuesday night at an Aliso Viejo town hall organized by liberal activists in Orange County who are working to oust Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa).
Activists invited Rohrabacher to speak, but he declined.
The event instead served as a pep rally for activists and a networking event for the stable of Democratic candidates seeking to challenge Rohrabacher in 2018.
Rohrabacher’s seat has been rated a toss-up by political prognosticators, and some of his challengers have been raising money at a considerable clip despite being new to politics.
In recent months, Lieu has seen his profile raised among liberals thanks to his brash tweets challenging the Trump administration.
His appearance Tuesday was largely an opportunity to get local activists motivated for the midterm election in 2018, when Democrats have put a special emphasis on capturing a handful of traditionally red seats in Orange County.
“It is your job to make sure people are excited next November as they are right now,” Lieu said.
“With your help, what we are going to see when Donald Trump gives his State of the Union address in January of 2019, we are going to see him and behind him we are going to see Speaker Nancy Pelosi looking down on him.”
Activists from the local Indivisible group have gotten into confrontations with Rohrabacher’s district staff and picketed outside his home demanding he host a town hall.
When one member of the group theatrically “served” the congressman with an invitation to Tuesday’s town hall, Rohrabacher threw the envelope to the ground.
“Your organization acts like a bunch of fascists,” he said.
Kenneth Grubbs, a spokesman for Rohrabacher, said Tuesday the congressman would not attend the town hall.
“He has ample evidence that Indivisible is a partisan group created to disrupt and not serve the public discourse,” Grubbs said in an email. “Portrayals of its intentions to the contrary are disingenuous.”
Other Indivisible groups, working off a shared playbook, are hosting similar town halls with Democratic members of Congress in areas represented by Republicans who haven’t held town halls of their own.
Rep. Linda Sanchez (DWhittier) is scheduled to host a town hall Thursday in Republican Rep. Ed Royce’s district at the Fullerton Community Center.
REP. TED LIEU got a rock star’s welcome as he urged activists to spur voter enthusiasm for the 2018 midterm election.