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Congresswoman Katie Porter, 45th Congressional District in Orange County. (Photo: porter.house.gov)

Rep. Katie Porter Rapidly Losing Ground in Congressional Race Against Scott Baugh

Porter has lost 8 points in polls since mid-October in the CA-47 District

By Evan Symon, November 2, 2022 1:59 pm

The Congressional race between Democrat Congresswoman Katie Porter and former Assemblyman Scott Baugh, a Republican, shifted dramatically on Monday, with polls showing that Porter fell several points in a matter of days and political trackers moving the race from “Lean D” to “Toss Up.”

The race in the newly redrawn 47th District in Orange County began earlier this year, with the incumbent Porter, who has been a Congresswoman since 2019, pitting herself in the primary against four Republican opponents. However, Baugh, a lawyer was previously in the State Assembly 1995 to 2000, and was the Orange County Republican Party Chairman 2004 to 2015, quickly became a frontrunner. In June, Porter won the primary with 51%, close to double that of Baugh who only brought in 30%.

While it seemed like a landslide with Porter, when Baugh’s total was added along with the other GOP candidates, it only became a very narrow 51%-49% win, much closer than Porter’s 51%-48% 2018 Congressional win against Mimi Walters, or her 53.5%-46.5% 2020 re-election win against Greg Raths. The new district lines seemed to be pulling a bit more to the right. But Porter, fueled by incumbency and vastly outspending Baugh, quickly shot up in the polls in July. By September, aggregate site FiveThirtyEight had her with an 80% to win, a figure that only grew to 85% in late September. With Porter outspending Baugh $23 million to $2.7 million, it seemed like the end of the road.

Scott Baugh. (Photo: Scott Baugh for Congress)

And then she went down a few points in October. And then another few. And then another few. What had been a plateau of support quickly went to a valley, and then a canyon. Worries about the economy rankled many voters, with Porter’s initial downtrend due to that economic worry breathing new life into the Baugh campaign in the final weeks. Adding to this was a segment of voters in the new district who were quietly Conservative, meaning that they weren’t registered with the GOP, tend to be more moderate, and don’t make a lot of noise until around election day. While this kind of voter has been more rare in Orange County in recent decades, the new district boundaries lumped many of these pockets of voters together.

Porter falling in 47th district race

“People tend to forget about the quiet, slightly to the right voter down here who doesn’t raise a hubub and then votes Republican or at least split ticket on election day,” explained Helen Fong, an Orange County Political consultant, to the Globe on Wednesday. “That, the economy, and more people growing displeased with Porter have really been changing the narrative of the race in the last few weeks, along with a lot of other different things.”

With Porter falling and Baugh surging, the race was moved on Tuesday by the Cook Political Report from leaning Democrat to being a toss-up. As of Wednesday, Porter now only stands at a 77% chance, with her projected popular vote going from 54% just last week to 52.7%, and still dropping.

“These final weeks have seen a frankly startling turnaround for Republicans,” added Fong. A lot of people knew they were likely going to win the House, but no one expected to see so many races shifting in their favor. And the 47th here would be one of the crown jewels for the GOP. They’ve been trying to get Orange County back under House districts for awhile, and Porter managed to survive that mini red wave in 2020 that retook part of the County. Democrats have not liked these Republican jumps in support that have been happening in the last few weeks. You expect things to get closer, of course, but, well, look with this race for example. Porter has been losing 1%, 2% at a time in only a matter of days. Usually there needs to be a scandal or other major thing doing that. Here, well, across the country, it’s all shifting quickly.

“It’s dangerous to hype some of these elections up as close and then on election day, you know, it turns out they weren’t close. But between Porter and Baugh, it really is getting closer. And that downtrend for Porter isn’t exactly stopping right now. She’s a car rolling down a hill, and Democrats hope that she can hit the brakes in time.”

Final polls in Californian House elections are due to be in by this weekend.

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3 thoughts on “Rep. Katie Porter Rapidly Losing Ground in Congressional Race Against Scott Baugh

  1. I hope “they” do not parade in with harvested ballots from old folks homes to overcome her loss. Ask Mimi about that!!!

  2. No doubt Democrat Congresswoman Katie Porter and her minions have plenty of mail-in ballots ready to be deployed on election night if the election appears not to be going her way?

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