Senator Dave Min (D-Irvine) announced on Thursday that he would be the latest major candidate to enter the quickly growing 2024 race for the 47th District congressional seat in Orange County, joining former Congressman Harley Rouda (D) and 2022 near-winner Scott Baugh (R).
Min, who received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his law degree from Harvard University, first entered the world of politics in the early 2000’s. Following a stint as a staff attorney at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Min became the Senate Banking Committee Counsel for Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in Washington. After being the Counsel and senior policy advisor to the United States Congress Joint Economic Committee, Min returned to California, becoming an assistant law professor at UC Irvine.
In 2018, Min reentered politics and ran for the then 45th House District due to disagreements over former President Trump’s immigration policies. However, this proved to be short-lived. Following Min causing a huge stir at the Democratic state convention over who the party should nominate for the race and barely getting their endorsement over Katie Porter, he lost the Primary that June to eventual winner Katie Porter and Republican Congresswoman Mimi Walters, becoming one of the few Democrats to get the support of the party yet still lose in the primary during the 2018 blue wave election.
Min tried again in 2020 for the California Senate. After beating Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley in the primary, Min narrowly defeated then Senator John Moorlach by just over 12,000 votes, 51% to 49%. In his two years in the Senate, Min has fallen in line with Democrats in terms to voting, and has had mixed success in bringing up bills to the Senate. While he has had some success on more social and environmental bills, such as getting a bill that will make all autonomous cars in California be electric by 2030 get passed in 2021, he has fallen many high-profile bills, such as his numerous attempts to stop off-shore oil and gas drilling being blocked by the combination of Republicans, unions, and numerous Californian companies.
Despite his mixed success in Sacramento, Min decided to become the latest politician to announce an early 2024 run on Thursday, eyeing Congresswoman Porter’s district just over a week following her announcement that she would be running for the U.S. Senate in 2024.
“Congresswoman Porter leaves behind an incredible legacy in the House of Representatives, one I hope to try to continue,” said Senator Min on Thursday.
However, Min is not alone. Also running on the Democratic ticket is former Congressman Rouda, who announced last week after sitting out the 2022 election cycle following his 2020 Congressional loss to Michelle Steel. On the GOP side, Baugh, who nearly defeated Porter in November, is running again as well. While both candidates hold advantages, with Rouda being a more well-known name in the district and Baugh coming in with growing support and campaign infrastructure already in place, Min did get a significant advantage of his own later on Thursday when Rep. Porter herself endorsed Min for the 2024 race.
“State Senator Dave Min will be a fantastic member of Congress, and I trust him to keep this critical swing seat Blue as we work to take back the House of Representatives in 2024,” said Porter in her endorsement on Thursday. “Dave has proven that he can win in this area while delivering on a progressive agenda with real results.”
Min enters crowded House race
However, political experts in the area remain unsure if Min can pull off a House win after being soundly defeated in a House primary only 5 years ago and barely winning his Senate seat in 2020.
“This is not going to be a cakewalk for Min,” explained Malik Griffin, a Los Angeles polling analyst, to the Globe on Thursday. “He does come in as the sitting State Senator, so he has that, as well as a decent base and popularity amongst some Asian-American communities in his district. But in the primary he will have to contend with Rouda, who actually won a House election before. Rouda is also more of a centrist Democrat than Min, and in this tight Orange County district, Rouda can appeal to more people this way.
“If Min manages to win there, he will then have to contend with Baugh most likely, and he’s something of a rising star. He went toe-to-toe with Porter, and many are predicting that the district might go more Republican in 2024, especially if there is an exciting GOP candidate running for the White House to bring on some carry over votes. It’s one of the tightest districts in the country that is inching a little bit to the right. Rouda has cross over appeal and Baugh has shown that he can appeal to moderates. Min won by a sliver in his Senate race. That might not be enough. The Porter endorsement helps, but it only goes so far and could turn off some voters too.”
“Honestly though, it is still way too early to make a decent prediction. We are still very early in the process, and other candidates can enter, with some current candidates possibly leaving. Who knows. A year from now we’ll have a much better idea. That’s a lot of time for these three to do good or to have a huge scandal that knocks them out. Maybe we see a shift in party support due to the Presidential election. There are a lot of variables. But right now Min has entered an already wild fray, and it’s only going to get more so as the year goes on.”
Other candidates in California are expected to announce their respective 2024 runs soon as the possible retirement of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) lingers.
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