Dana Watch: 30 for 30

Illustration by Bob Aul

“The patriots have won!”

That was not the Bizarro World result of the last Super Bowl, but rather the bizarro congressman of Huntington Beach, Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-Putin’s Silk Skivvies), making a verbal victory lap the night of June 5.

At the time he spoke, he led a roster of everyone in the 48th Congressional District white pages—Do they still have white pages?—gunning for the seat he has held since he campaigned for term limits 30 years ago.

Speaking of 30, Rohrabacher had 30 percent of the primary vote as he spoke, far ahead at the time of Democrat Hans Keirstead at 18 percent, Republican Scott Baugh at 17 percent and Democrat Harley Rouda at 16 percent. (After election day results from all 415 precincts had been counted, Keirstead pulled ahead of Rouda, 18,827 to 18,782, a slim 45-vote lead, while Baugh was 1,181 votes behind Rouda. Thousands of mail-in ballots remain to be counted, however.)

Only the top two vote-getters advance to November’s general election, and though it was obvious the incumbent will make up one half of a run-off, Rohrabacher spoke as if he’d already been re-elected. “How many times do we have to hear there is a blue wave that is going to knock us down?” he asked the boisterous crowd of supporters at Skosh Monahan’s in Costa Mesa. “Well, the tide is turning against these left-wing fanatics who are in charge of our government.”

Um . . . what? White House: Republican. Senate: Republican. House of Representatives: Republican. Supreme Court: Conservative. Cable-news leader: In the bag for all of ’em.

Perhaps Rohrabacher meant “our government” as in California’s, which does swing left, although one wag on the teevee did point out that a Republican (John Cox) making the runoff against Democrat Gavin Newsom in the governor’s race may help incumbent Orange County Republicans hold onto their House seats. His reasoning was that had Newsom faced another Democrat in November, Republicans voters would have likely sat out the election, which would have been a big boost to Democrats on down-ticket races. Given that Newsom rans ads that propped up San Diego businessman Cox’s profile because the lieutenant governor would rather square off against a Republican than another Democrat in a solid blue state, we may end up having him to blame if Rohrabacher also wins in November.

As KCAL/9 dipped into Sloshed Monahan’s election night, Rohrabacher was blabbering something about “leftist billionaires and the news media on their side. We are taking back America right here.”

But that may be presumptuous. Former Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky told KCAL that Rohrabacher “is vulnerable” because “he is an incumbent” with “a lot of baggage” and “who is only polling at 30 percent.”

So, whoever finished second may be on the wave that ultimately knocks out the Surfin’ Congressman. Cowabunga!

Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.

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