Dana Watch: Say Goodnight, Gracey

Illustration by Bob Aul

Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-Putin’s study buddy) tweeted this on Sept. 18: “Proud to be supporting Gracey Van Der Mark for school board. She is a patriot and a parent who has great potential to make a difference for our children and our state . . . and yes, our country.”

What kind of difference? As the Weekly has reported, the Ocean View School District Board of Trustees candidate has in the past curated a “Holocaust hoax?” YouTube playlist, promoted Islamophobia conspiracy theories on Facebook, referred to African-Americans as “colored people” and protested a white-privilege workshop alongside alt-right agitators who were scheduled speakers at Charlottesville’s Unite the Right rally days later.

Naturally, Rohrabacher’s tweeted backing was blasted by Harley Rouda, the Democrat who is running against the 15-term congressman on Nov. 6: “Dana Rohrabacher’s endorsement of Ms. Larrea-Van Der Mark as a candidate for Huntington Beach school board is simply wrong. Dana’s embrace of a school board candidate who professes bigoted ideas, who associates with white supremacists and anti-Semites, means Dana is embracing hate.”

Halie Soifer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, blasted the Rohrabacher endorsement Sept. 21 as well as the congressman’s cozy ties to alt-right blogger and Holocaust minimizer Charles Johnson, who has given the maximum individual donation to the politician’s re-election campaign. “This is not the first time that Representative Rohrabacher has aligned himself with those who deny the Holocaust, perpetuate racism and anti-Semitism, or align with the alt-right,” says Soifer in a statement. “These associations, combined with Rohrabacher’s deeply troubling ties with the Russian government, compel us to call on the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) to repudiate Rohrabacher’s candidacy for Congress. Furthermore, we call on the RJC to endorse Rohrabacher’s opponent, Harley Rouda, who we believe will represent Jewish and Democratic values in Congress.”

MyNewsLA.com quotes Rohrabacher campaign spokesman Dale Neugebauer as saying Larrea-Van Der Mark is a “dedicated and compassionate Huntington Beach parent who has been subjected to a vicious smear campaign by the most extreme elements of the far left, the same groups that are working for Harley Rouda.”

At least when it comes to tying Larrea-Van Der Mark to speakers in Charlottesville, Rohrabacher has . . . uh . . . a defense. Shortly after the August 2014 white nationalist riots, the congressman claimed they were organized by a former Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporter. “It was left-wingers who were manipulating them in order to have this confrontation” that was aimed at putting “our president on the spot,” fumed The Mouth That Rohrabachered.

Actually, Dana and Gracey were made for each other.

Got Dana Watch fodder? Email mcoker@ocweekly.com.

OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief 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 alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.

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