Republican Dana Rohrabacher, Called ‘Putin’s Favorite Congressman,’ Officially Loses To Democrat Harley Rouda

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Democrat Harley Rouda has officially been declared the winner of the race for California’s 48th Congressional District’s seat, defeating Dana Rohrabacher, who was been called “Putin’s favorite congressman,” CNN is reporting.

Currently leading by about 17,000 votes, a gap that Rohrabacher will be unable to overcome, Rouda has officially won, two weeks after a mid-term election that has seen several races spawn recounts, lawsuits, and recounts of recounts.

A 30-Year Career As A “Conservative Stalwart”

Since the 1980’s, Rohrabacher, described by CNN as a “conservative stalwart,” has represented California’s 48th district. The district, in Orange County south of Los Angeles, has traditionally skewed conservative, and Rohrabacher had been the man for the job.

An instrumental figure in the Reagan administration, Rohrabacher was at one point being considered for Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, as the Hill reported in 2016. In many ways, his views echoed that of Donald Trump; for example, in 2013, as Think Progress reported at the time, Rohrabacher claimed that Islam is a threat to the security of the United States and to Western civilization in general.

“Putin’s Favorite Congressman”

Back in 2016, Politico writer Isaac Arnsdorf declared Rohrabacher “Putin’s favorite congressman” for his (Rohrabacher’s) admiration for the Russian dictator and for his purported pro-Russian views.

“Rohrabacher’s transformation from Cold Warrior to Kremlin champion has puzzled colleagues. In Rohrabacher’s telling, Americans have gratuitously antagonized Russia instead of seeking common ground against greater threats from China and Islamic terrorism. That worldview has made him a fixture in Russian state media.”

Thwarted By An Upstart

Harley Rouda, for his part, ran on an unabashedly liberal platform. According to his website, for example, he championed investment in education; healthcare for all; and “common sense gun reform,” which includes background checks for those who would create their own 3-D printed guns, among other things.

CNN writer Devan Cole credits some of Rouda’s success to anti-Trump sentiment among the district’s college-educated voters for helping him flip the longtime Republican seat to the Democrats.

“[This disdain is something] that will likely work to his advantage as his party is gearing up to use their new power in Washington to challenge many of the President’s policies and actions.”

Several Races Remain Uncalled

That Rouda would be declared the winner nearly two weeks after the election has been par for the course in the 2018 mid-term elections. As of this writing, several House races and one Senate race still remain uncalled, according to Congressional magazine Roll Call.