O.C. Rep. Katie Porter is No. 5 in fundraising among all House members



Rep. Katie Porter isn’t a member of congressional management, neither is she a firebrand who is continually within the information. However the Orange County congresswoman is among the many strongest fundraisers within the U.S. Home of Representatives.

Of the members of the 435-seat Home, Porter (D-Irvine) got here in at No. 5, elevating almost $4.9 million within the first six months of this yr, in line with fundraising disclosures filed with the Federal Election Fee on Thursday.

That places her haul slightly below highly effective veteran lawmakers reminiscent of Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Home Minority Chief Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), and above each different member of California’s congressional delegation.

Porter has $12.9 million in money readily available, a battle chest that units her up formidably for subsequent yr’s midterm election and will present the muse for a run for the U.S. Senate.

Political consultants say Porter’s fundraising prowess is no surprise, given how she has drawn nationwide consideration and affection from Democrats due to her sharp questioning of company CEOs and authorities officers throughout congressional hearings and the notion that she is relatable.

“Her picture is interesting as a result of she’s so genuine. She actually is a mother in a minivan. She actually is an skilled with a white board,” stated Rose Kapolczynski, a veteran Democratic strategist. “It’s not contrived by someone sitting in a marketing campaign workplace. … Katie Porter owns who she is and is completely satisfied to nerd out on an company’s testimony, and folks respect that.”

The 4 members of Congress who raised greater than Porter have been Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Pelosi, who every raised $6.9 million; McCarthy, who took in $6.three million, and Dan Crenshaw of Texas, who acquired $5.2 million.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) was the one different Californian within the high 10 fundraisers for this yr; he raked in almost $Four million and has greater than $15.6 million within the financial institution.

Porter, a 47-year-old legal professional, declined to be interviewed for this story.

She was the primary Democrat in historical past to flip California’s 45th Congressional District, which incorporates Irvine, Tustin, Villa Park, Laguna Hills, Lake Forest and Rancho Santa Margarita, in addition to components of Anaheim, Orange, Laguna Woods, Mission Viejo and Trabuco Canyon.

Porter first gained the longtime Republican stronghold within the “blue wave” of 2018, then gained reelection final yr by 7 share factors. Nonetheless, Porter underperformed President Biden within the district, which is partly why she is among the many Democratic incumbents being focused by nationwide Republicans in subsequent yr’s midterm election.

Voter registration within the district is 34.8% Democratic, 34.6% Republican and 25.7% who determine as having no social gathering desire.

Porter, a protégé of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), has embraced a number of the extra liberal insurance policies of her social gathering, reminiscent of Medicare for All. Republicans are hoping that such positions put her at odds with swing voters.

“No sum of money will change the truth that Katie Porter continues to assist a socialist agenda that’s inflicting the price of on a regular basis items to skyrocket,” stated Torunn Sinclair, spokeswoman for the Nationwide Republican Congressional Committee. “Orange County residents see much less cash of their financial institution accounts due to Porter and voters will maintain her accountable for it in 2022.”

However Porter’s liberal views haven’t alienated average voters in her district, famous Fred Smoller, a political science professor at Chapman College.

“She worn out her earlier opponent fairly darn properly, and she or he has constructed excessive title recognition, supplied good constituent companies and raised some huge cash,” he stated. “She’s change into a nationwide determine.”

Porter’s supporters say that’s as a result of she stays approachable, driving round city almost each weekend in her forest inexperienced Toyota Sienna with customized license plates that learn “OVRSITE,” and being candid concerning the struggles of juggling her congressional profession together with her household, reminiscent of when she defined to TBS’ Samantha Bee why she is direct and blunt:


“Should you’re stuffed with b—, I’m coming for you,” she stated in 2020. “I simply don’t have time. I’m a single mother. The dinner’s burning. I’m late to one thing. I’ve 4,000 emails. My hair is frizzy. I haven’t shaved my legs in every week.”

Porter supporters say they’re additionally drawn by her pointed questioning in Congress, rendering the chief government of JPMorgan Chase unable to reply how an worker may make ends meet on the financial institution’s entry-level wages, and forcing the top of the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention to conform to make coronavirus testing free.

“She’s somebody who’s in a position to have a robust voice and deep experience in areas that aren’t at all times deemed attractive, however are essential,” stated Laura Gowen, who has hosted three fundraisers for Porter at her Silver Lake house that raised a complete of about $75,000.

Most of Porter’s donations — 81% — have been $25 or much less. The congresswoman doesn’t take cash from company political motion committees, lobbyists or executives from Wall Road, oil or pharmaceutical firms. The utmost particular person donation allowed underneath legislation to a congressional candidate within the 2021-22 cycle is $5,800.

Congresswoman Katie Porter receives a flower from a child.

Rep. Katie Porter accepts a flower from Emily Nguyen, 12, the daughter of Michael Phuong Minh Nguyen of Orange County, who was arrested and sentenced to 12 years in jail in Vietnam. Porter has been engaged on behalf of the Nguyen household.

(Ana Venegas / For The Instances)

The cash might be key if Porter’s district takes a conservative flip within the every-decade redrawing of congressional district strains that’s underway.

After the 2020 census, every district in California ought to have roughly 761,000 residents. Porter’s district had greater than 797,000 residents in 2018, that means that it must shrink. If she have been to lose UC Irvine, that will make the district extra Republican; conversely, if she loses Mission Viejo or Anaheim Hills, that will make it extra Democratic. The impartial redistricting fee will launch closing maps subsequent yr.

The candidates who’ve filed to run towards her will not be well-known and have little cash, together with a self-described “American nationalist” whose habits led to a bodily altercation at a latest Porter city corridor in Irvine.

The redistricting outcomes will decide whether or not extra distinguished opponents emerge.

“If the district stays aggressive, it provides Porter a leg up together with her critical opponents scrambling on a later timeline,” stated Jon Fleischman, a veteran conservative activist who lives in close by Yorba Linda. “If the district turns into extra Republican, it’s doable that Porter’s huge marketing campaign treasury gained’t assist her maintain that seat.”

This uncertainty, stated Porter’s marketing campaign supervisor, is why it’s so necessary to have cash within the financial institution, significantly in some of the costly media markets within the nation.

“Constructing this battle chest is absolutely useful as a result of we’d need to introduce ourselves to a bunch of latest voters actually shortly,” stated Nora Walsh-DeVries.

Others ponder whether Porter has Senate aspirations if one among California’s seats opens up. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, 88, has filed to run for reelection in 2024. But when she doesn’t run, the race to succeed her is anticipated to draw a horde of youthful Democratic elected officers who’ve been hoping to win a better perch.

Cash may winnow the sphere, famous veteran Democratic strategist Katie Merrill.

“It’s very costly to run for U.S. Senate in California, and so it’s worthwhile to have that form of marketing campaign battle chest to even start to consider it,” Merrill stated.


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