OC GOP and Rohrabacher Defend Backing Controversial School Board Candidate

Dana Rohrabacher stands by his woman.

Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-Putin’s Party Apparatus) and the Orange County Republican Party Central Committee are doubling down on their backing of a controversial Huntington Beach school board candidate in the wake of heated criticism of the endorsements.

The same OC GOP that routinely craps on Latinos plays the Latina card in the following statement defending Gracey Larrea-Van Der Mark, who is seeking to join the Ocean View School District (OVSD) Board of Trustees:

“The Republican Party of Orange County fully vets our endorsed candidates. Gracey is a respected local leader. The issue/quote in question was taken out of context, and when first revealed was reviewed in full context by Huntington Beach officials.

“Gracey retained her commission appointment. Our committee reviewed Gracey in full context of her positions and who she is as a person. We are proud to endorse a young Latina mother trying to improve her local school district.”

“Commission appointment” refers to Larrea-Van Der Mark’s role on a City of Huntington Beach advisory finance panel, and “Huntington Beach officials” means Patrick Brenden, the city councilman who appointed her.

After the public exposure of Larrea-Van Der Mark’s recent past—which included curating a “Holocaust hoax?” YouTube playlist, promoting Islamophobic conspiracy theories on Facebook, referring to African Americans as “colored people” and protesting a white privilege workshop alongside alt-right agitators who were scheduled speakers at Charlottesville’s Unite the Right rally days later—Rabbi Peter Levi, the Anti-Defamation League’s Orange County regional director, sent a letter to the Huntington Beach City Council seeking an investigation of her.

Brenden conducted that probe and cleared his appointee of any wrongdoing.

Today, Halie Soifer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), blasted Rohrabacher’s endorsement of Larrea-Van Der Mark and cozy ties to Charles Johnson, an alt-right blogger and Holocaust minimizer who has given the maximum individual donation to the congressman’s re-election campaign.

“This is not the first time that Rep. 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 Rep. Rohrabacher’s deeply troubling ties with the Russian government, compel us to call on the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) to repudiate Rep. Rohrabacher’s candidacy for Congress. Furthermore, we call on the RJC to endorse Rep. Rohrabacher’s opponent, Harley Rouda, who we believe will represent Jewish and Democratic values in Congress.

“As JDCA has previously stated, the only way to ensure that the numerous neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and Holocaust deniers–as well as those who sympathize with them–are not elected to Congress is to endorse and support their opponents. During these troubling times, all of us in the Jewish community must put partisan labels aside and confront those who perpetuate hatred and divisiveness in our country.”

Charles Johnson flashes the alt-right symbol with Rohrabacher outside the London location where they met with Julian Assange. Johnson set up the controversial get-together. (Courtesy of Twitter)

However, 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.”

Rouda is the Democrat who faces Rohrabacher in the Nov. 6 48th congressional district election that shares the ballot with the OVSD race. “The voters of Orange County have a clear choice on November 6th to reject a failed Member of Congress whose endorsement of Ms. Larrea-Van Der Mark is the latest instance of his homophobic, bigoted and extreme views,” Rouda said in a statement reacting to the 15-term congressman’s backing of the school board candidate.

Neugebauer reportedly told MyNewsLA.com that Larrea-Van Der Mark, “had the fortitude to speak up and challenge the priorities being advanced by liberal members of her school board. Huntington Beach residents who know and work with Gracey respect her and appreciate the courage she has displayed in the face of their withering and unfair attacks. By piling on, Harley Rouda reveals himself as just another censor in (House Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi’s speech police.”

Now watch how effusive Neugebauer’s boss Rohrabacher is when it comes to Larrea-Van Der Mark:


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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