As of today, two people have stepped forward and expressed their intent to challenge Dana Rohrabacher in 2018.
One, Boyd Roberts, is a real estate broker.
The other, Harley Rouda, is also in real estate, having founded Real Living.
I have yet to meet either man, though I’m scheduled to dine with Rouda in the coming days (I’ll offer my opinion afterward). What I can tell you, though, is that in order to win, the Democratic candidate will have to:
A. Raise a ton of money: And by “a ton,” I mean well in excess of $500,000. Rohrabacher’s pockets are full, and the 2018 congressional race may well wind up being America’s most expensive. In the past, Dana has barely broken a sweat, because A. The district was solidly Republican; B. He outspent opponents by a 10:1 ratio.
What makes 2018 potentially winnable is a demographic that is increasingly blue, a president who could (potentially) be toxic for Rohrabacher and a newfound reputation for refusing to meet with district residents. If Rouda or Roberts can rake in the dough, Rohrabacher’s vulnerabilities come to life.
B. Break out the baseball bat: This will not be an election for softies. Rohrabacher will not hesitate to go dirty, and—although this might sound awful—the Democratic candidate should be unafraid of the mud. The incumbent’s voting record is long and, oftentimes, disturbing. Use that. Turn it into a weapon, and bludgeon Dana with it. Don’t let him breathe. Don’t give him a chance to come up for air. Define him as a callous, lazy, indifferent nutjob whose beliefs are to the right of Barry Goldwater. Sometimes political figures feel the need to be loved. To hell with love. If played well, this election will be referendum on Dana Rohrabacher. That’s a good thing.
C. Make social media your running mate: Seriously. Dana Rohrabacher is awful on Twitter and Facebook. He doesn’t exist on Snapchat. His website sucks. Huge mistakes right there. Be young, be fresh, be idealistic. Social media conveys so many things. Own the media.
Years ago, Dana Rohrabacher would have entered an election with a 90-percent chance of winning. Right now, based on what we know, that’s closer to 70 percent.