Recent polls in District 45 conducted by GBA Strategies, the New York Times, the Global Strategy Group and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) show Katie Porter to be in a slight lead against incumbent Mimi Walters in their race for a seat in the House of Representatives. Mimi Walters, elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2016, is the Republican incumbent representative and a former investment banker. Katie Porter, Walters’ Democratic challenger, is a UC Irvine law professor and consumer protection attorney.
Published on Oct. 1, a poll commissioned by End Citizens United and conducted by GBA Strategies reported the two candidates are neck-and-neck, with Porter at 48 percent and Walters at 47 percent. This is the fourth consecutive poll showing Porter in the lead, but overall, polls depict a tight race. GBA Strategies derived their results by surveying 400 likely voters from Sept. 20 to Sept. 23.
According to the New York Times’ live poll, Porter is up five points, with Katie Porter reported to be at 48 percent and Mimi Walters at 43 percent.
The results of 310 interviews place ratings for Porter at 41 percent favorable, 24 percent unfavorable, and 36 percent unsure. Walters’ ratings are at 40 percent favorable, 42 percent unfavorable, and 18 percent unsure. The New York Times conducted their poll using a registration-based sample from a voter file of registered voters in the district.
A Sept. 21 report by the Global Strategy Group stated that their poll, which was conducted by live-telephone survey of 500 likely midterm voters from Sept. 14 to Sept. 18, indicated Porter at a three-point lead, with Porter at 46 percent and Walters at 43 percent.
Key survey findings suggest Democrats are more incentivized to vote as a result of the unpopularity of President Donald Trump in the 45th Congressional District. 79 percent of registered Democrats are either very or somewhat excited, as compared to 57 percent of Republicans.
DCCC’s poll, conducted from Aug. 10 to Aug. 14 and released on Sept. 6, also showed Porter at a three-point lead, with Porter at 49 percent and Walters at 46 percent.
The survey found Trump remains unpopular in the district, as former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won over the 45th Congressional District by five points in the 2016 Presidential Election. 45 percent of survey respondents had a favorable view of Trump, in comparison to 54 percent having an unfavorable view. Porter’s approval ratings are at 35 percent favorable and 16 percent unfavorable, while Walters’ ratings are split at 44 percent favorable and 45 percent unfavorable. In terms of name recognition, 89 percent of respondents recognized Walters’ name while only 51 percent recognized Porter. Tulchin Research conducted the poll through surveying 500 likely voters via live phone interviews and email.
Mimi Walters currently serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, the Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Despite being the 45th District representative, she resides in the 48th District, represented by Dana Rohrabacher. Walters is endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, State Senator Pat Bates, and Americans for Crime Reform.
Walters’ issues include fighting for strong defense and national security, fiscally responsible government, private property rights, lower taxes, economic growth, and job creation. Though she claims to be working to reduce taxes on all wage earners and job-creating businesses, Walters has voted for the GOP Tax Bill, which will result in 1 million Californians paying $12 billion more in taxes next year. She has also vowed to protect patients with pre-existing conditions, but voted for the American Health Care Act, which replaces portions of the Affordable Care Act and allows states to petition for insurance companies to charge higher premiums for those with pre-existing conditions.
Throughout her term, Walters has proposed legislation that improves access to opioid addiction treatment. On Sept. 28th, 2018, Walters’ provision, Section 5052, was passed under the Support for Patients and Communities Act, allowing Medicaid-eligible patients to receive up to 30 days of inpatient substance abuse treatment over a 12 month period.
Walters spoke about her stance on opioid legislation, stating: “Sadly, no community in this country, including Orange County, is immune to the opioid epidemic. Opioid-related deaths account for 70 percent of all Orange County drug overdose deaths. We can save lives and combat this deadly epidemic by ensuring those struggling with addiction have access to quality inpatient treatment programs.”
In a 2015 Fox News interview, Walters said, “I think it’s really important for members of Congress to be in their district and talk to their constituents and hear what their constituents have to say.” However, her most recent in-person public event for her constituents was on Oct. 12th, 2016. Since her re-election in 2016, she has only held ‘telephone town halls,’ teleconferences with pre-screened questions.
Katie Porter has established herself as an advocate for consumers and families, with much of her work centered in the late 2000s housing bubble. Porter commented on the mortgage crisis, saying that “California families have a deep desire to move up the economic ladder and provide financial security for their loved ones. But too often, families who play by the rules still find themselves at the mercy of a system that favors powerful special interests who can buy influence in Washington… I will always put Orange County families first.”
“Katie Porter is a champion for working families. As a consumer advocate, Katie has spent years fighting for the middle-class and understands the importance of holding big corporations and banks accountable,” said DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján. Porter has been endorsed by former President Barack Obama, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris.
Porter’s issues are centered on tax reform, public education, ending Citizens United, common sense gun control, preserving Medicare, and protecting women’s health. Despite supporting tax reform for the middle class, she has been accused of flip-flopping on the controversial GOP Gas Tax, misrepresenting her earlier support for raising gas taxes.
As a law professor at UCI, her research, which focuses on empirical studies of consumer bankruptcy, has been published in the Texas Law Review, the Georgetown Law Journal, the American Bankruptcy Law Journal, and the Cornell Law Review. She is also the author of the textbook Modern Consumer Law.
In March 2012, Attorney General Kamala Harris appointed Porter to be California’s state independent monitor in a nationwide $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement. To involve students in her monitoring work, Porter founded a Consumer Protection Clinic at UCI Law. Porter has received awards such as the Champion of Consumer Rights Award from the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and the Editors’ Prize from the American Bankruptcy Law Journal for best article. In 2012, she was listed as one of Top 100 Lawyers in California.
Orange County, a Republican stronghold, is ground zero for Democrats in this election as they aim to flip the House of Representatives to a Democratic majority. In particular, the 45th District is a crucial area of focus, as Clinton won the majority by five points in 2016. Hillary Clinton was the first Democratic presidential candidate to win over Orange County since 1936.
The 45th Congressional District is based in suburban Orange County and includes Irvine, Tustin, Villa Park, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Laguna Hills, Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita, Mission Viejo and parts of Aliso Viejo and Laguna Niguel. Despite being home to the University of California, Irvine, the district has never had a Democratic representative at the Congressional level. However, the tide seems to be shifting in the 2018 primary election outcome. If Porter were to be elected, she would be the first Democrat to represent the district.
If you are interested in voting in the upcoming general election on November 6, please register to vote at https://registertovote.ca.gov/.