Harley Rouda

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Harley Rouda
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 48th district
In office
January 3, 2019 – January 3, 2021
Preceded byDana Rohrabacher
Succeeded byMichelle Steel
Personal details
Born (1961-12-10) December 10, 1961 (age 62)
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic (2017–present)
Other political
affiliations
Spouse
(m. 1990)
Children4
EducationUniversity of Kentucky (BA)
Capital University (JD)
Ohio State University (MBA)

Harley Edwin Rouda Jr. (born December 10, 1961) is an American attorney, businessman and politician who served as the U.S. representative for California's 48th congressional district from 2019 to 2021.[1] He was the first Democrat to represent the district, which encompasses southwestern coastal portions of Orange County including the cities of Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach.

Rouda first ran for office in the 2018 election, when he defeated 15-term Republican incumbent Dana Rohrabacher.[2] He was defeated for reelection by Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel in 2020.[3] After considering running for Congress in the 2022 elections, Rouda announced he would not seek any public office that cycle.

On January 11, 2023, Rouda announced his candidacy for California's 47th congressional district in the 2024 elections.[4] With incumbent representative Katie Porter announcing a run for senate, the race will be open.[5] However, three months later, Rouda announced he was ending his comeback bid for Congress in the 47th district, citing a medical issue.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Rouda was born December 10, 1961, in Columbus, Ohio,[7] the son of Marlese Rouda and the late Harley Edwin Rouda.[8]

Rouda received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Kentucky in 1984, where he was a member of Delta Tau Delta social fraternity. He also earned a Juris Doctor from Capital University Law School in 1986 and Master of Business Administration from Ohio State University in 2002.[9][10]

Career[edit]

Following passage of the Ohio bar examination, Rouda worked at the law firm of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP in Columbus, Ohio until 1990.[11] He later left the firm to join his family business, HER Realtors, and eventually served as CEO of Trident Holdings, the parent company of HER Realtors.[12]

Early political career[edit]

Rouda says he was raised in a "traditional Republican household."[2] He was a registered Republican until 1997, when he left the party and became an independent because he felt the Republican Party had been moving in the "wrong direction" on social issues.[13] Rouda says the last Republican he voted for was Bob Dole in the 1996 presidential election. He switched his party affiliation to the Democratic Party after the 2016 election.[2] Shortly before registering as a Democrat, Rouda donated to the John Kasich 2016 presidential campaign. Kasich would suspend his campaign shortly before he was defeated by Donald Trump in the California primaries. Due to these donations, he was criticized by Democrats as insufficiently loyal to the party or being a "Republican in disguise" during the campaign,[14] to which Rouda responded, “we gave … because they are personal friends – not because he is someone who I share a political ideology with – and because I wanted to stop Donald Trump and his divisive campaign.”[15]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

2018[edit]

On March 2, 2017, Rouda announced his candidacy for U.S. Representative from California's 48th congressional district, challenging the incumbent, Dana Rohrabacher, shortly after changing his party registration from no party preference into a Democrat.[11] His primary opponent, Hans Keirstead, was endorsed by the Democratic Party of California at the party convention.[16] Rouda received the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee endorsement in May 2018.[17] In the nonpartisan blanket primary election, Rouda secured the second spot over Keirstead on the ballot by 125 votes (from a total of 174,024), thus allowing him to face Rohrabacher in the general election.[18]

On October 25, Michael Bloomberg announced he would be supporting Rouda's campaign by donating $4 million to his PAC, Independence USA. That made Rouda's race against Rohrabacher the most expensive House race in the 2018 election cycle.[19]

On November 6, the election was too close to call, as Rouda held a narrow lead over Rohrabacher.[20] As mail-in votes were counted, Rouda's lead expanded,[21] and the Associated Press called the race in his favor on November 10.[22]

2020[edit]

Rouda ran for reelection and faced off against the Republican challenger, Orange County supervisor Michelle Steel,[23] during the general election on November 3, 2020. Steel ultimately defeated Rouda, garnering 51.1% of the vote to Rouda's 48.9%.[24][25] Immediately after his loss, Rouda announced he would run against Steel again in 2022.[26]

Rouda missed federally mandated deadlines for reporting that his wife traded stocks while he was in office. The missed reporting appeared to violate the STOCK Act, which is designed to combat insider trading.[27][28]

2022[edit]

After conceding the election, Rouda had announced that he would challenge Steel in 2022.[26] However, new congressional maps going into effect for the 2022 cycle placed the homes of Rouda, Steel and two-term Democratic Representative Katie Porter in the same district, now numbered the 47th district. When Porter announced her intention to run in the 47th district,[29] Steel chose to run in the new 45th district.[30]

After initially announcing his intent to challenge Porter,[31] Rouda dropped out of the race in January 2022.[32] Rouda formed a political action committee, Join Together PAC, to support the election of moderate Democrats, such as Katrina Foley of the Orange County Board of Supervisors.[33]

2024[edit]

After incumbent representative Katie Porter announced that she would not be running reelection to the House in the 47th district, instead opting to run in the 2024 United States Senate election in California, Rouda announced that he would run for the seat in the 2024 elections.[34] However, on April 11, 2023, Rouda announced his withdrawal from the race, citing a traumatic brain injury he received following a fall.[6]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Electoral history[edit]

California's 48th congressional district election, 2018[35][36]
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dana Rohrabacher (incumbent) 52,737 30.3
Democratic Harley Rouda 30,099 17.3
Democratic Hans Keirstead 29,974 17.2
Republican Scott Baugh 27,514 15.8
Democratic Omar Siddiqui 8,658 5.0
Republican John Gabbard 5,664 3.3
Democratic Rachel Payne (withdrawn) 3,598 2.1
Republican Paul Martin 2,893 1.7
Republican Shastina Sandman 2,762 1.6
Democratic Michael Kotick (withdrawn) 2,606 1.5
Democratic Laura Oatman (withdrawn) 2,412 1.4
Democratic Deanie Schaarsmith 1,433 0.8
Democratic Tony Zarkades 1,281 0.7
Libertarian Brandon Reiser 964 0.6
Republican Stelian Onufrei (withdrawn) 739 0.4
No party preference Kevin Kensinger 690 0.4
Total votes 174,024 100.0
General election
Democratic Harley Rouda 157,837 53.6
Republican Dana Rohrabacher (incumbent) 136,899 46.4
Total votes 294,736 100.0
Democratic gain from Republican
2020 California's 48th congressional district primary results by county supervisorial district
Map legend
  •   Rouda—50–60%
  •   Rouda—40–50%
California's 48th congressional district, 2020
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Harley Rouda (incumbent) 99,659 46.7
Republican Michelle Steel 74,418 34.9
Republican Brian Burley 25,884 12.1
American Independent Richard Mata 5,704 2.7
Republican John Thomas Schuesler 4,900 2.3
Republican James Brian Griffin 2,714 1.3
Total votes 213,279 100.0
General election
Republican Michelle Steel 196,208 50.9
Democratic Harley Rouda (incumbent) 189,235 49.1
Total votes 385,443 100.0
Republican gain from Democratic

Personal life[edit]

Rouda and author Kaira Rouda (née Sturdivant) have been married since 1990. They have four children. They moved to California after Rouda sold the family firm.[2]

Rouda has been heavily critical of fellow Congress member Katie Porter. In her recent memoir I Swear: Politics is Messier Than My Minivan, Porter stated that Rouda mistook her for a valet and made heavy real estate purchases in D.C. In response, Rouda published an opinion piece on the Orange County Register criticizing Porter for her mischaracterizations of him and his family. He has referred to Porter as "a bully with a whiteboard" and has called on voters to vote for anyone in the 2024 California Senate Primary other than her. [37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Board of Supervisors candidates face off in forum but with only 3 out of 5 in attendance". Daily Pilot. February 12, 2021. Archived from the original on February 24, 2021. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d Medina, Jennifer (September 7, 2018). "He's a Former Republican Taking On Dana Rohrabacher. Can He Win?". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 29, 2018. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  3. ^ Conradis, Brandon (November 10, 2020). "GOP's Steel wins California House race after Democrat Rouda concedes". The Hill. Archived from the original on November 10, 2020. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  4. ^ Doherty, Erin (January 11, 2023). "Former Rep. Harley Rouda announces bid to fill Katie Porter's House seat". Axios. Archived from the original on January 11, 2023. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  5. ^ "Former Rep. Harley Rouda is running for Congress in CA-47". Orange County Register. January 12, 2023. Archived from the original on January 28, 2023. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  6. ^ a b Anastacio, Nicholas (April 11, 2023). "Former Rep. Rouda ends comeback House bid due to traumatic brain injury". NBC News. Archived from the original on April 13, 2023. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  7. ^ "Candidate Conversation - Harley Rouda". Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales. May 5, 2017. Archived from the original on November 11, 2018. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  8. ^ "Harley Rouda Obituary". The Columbus Dispatch. Columbus, Ohio. Archived from the original on November 11, 2018. Retrieved October 12, 2018 – via Legacy.com.
  9. ^ Daily Pilot staff (March 3, 2017). "Political Landscape: Second Laguna resident vows to take on Rohrabacher in 2018 election". Los Angeles Times Daily Pilot. Archived from the original on November 10, 2018. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  10. ^ "ROUDA, Harley". US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives. Archived from the original on September 15, 2021. Retrieved September 15, 2021.
  11. ^ a b Furey, Donna (March 2, 2017). "Rouda Steps Up to Challenge Rohrabacher". Laguna Beach Independent. Archived from the original on November 8, 2018. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  12. ^ Weiker, Jim (July 14, 2017). "Former HER executive Rouda running for Congress in California". Columbus Dispatch. Archived from the original on September 15, 2021. Retrieved September 15, 2021.
  13. ^ Daniels, Jeff (September 14, 2018). "Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Democrat Harley Rouda virtually tied in crucial California race". CNBC. Archived from the original on January 5, 2019. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  14. ^ Wisckol, Martin (March 19, 2017). "Rohrabacher challenger Harley Rouda addresses past GOP affiliation". Orange County Register. Archived from the original on January 5, 2019. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  15. ^ "Rohrabacher challenger Harley Rouda addresses past GOP affiliation". Orange County Register. March 20, 2017. Retrieved May 5, 2023.
  16. ^ Chmielewski, Dan (February 26, 2018). "Dr. Hans Keirstead Wins California Democratic Party Endorsement". The Liberal OC. Archived from the original on December 30, 2018. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  17. ^ Bowman, Bridget (May 11, 2018). "DCCC Takes Sides to Avoid Shutout in Crowded California Primary". Roll Call. Archived from the original on December 8, 2018. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  18. ^ Alex Padilla. "Statement of Vote June 5, 2018 | Statewide Direct Primary Election" (PDF). California Secretary of State. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 25, 2020. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  19. ^ Jordan Graham (October 25, 2018). "Election: Michael Bloomberg spends $4M to back Harley Rouda, making CA-48 priciest House race in U.S." Orange County Register. Archived from the original on November 6, 2018. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  20. ^ Graham, Jordan (November 6, 2018). "Election 2018: Democrat Harley Rouda holds lead over GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in CA-48". Orange County Register. Archived from the original on December 30, 2018. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  21. ^ "Election Day +3: Here Are the Uncalled 11 House and 2 Senate Races". Roll Call. November 9, 2018. Archived from the original on December 30, 2018. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  22. ^ Kopetman, Roxana (November 10, 2018). "AP calls Harley Rouda winner in race against Dana Rohrabacher". Press-Telegram. Long Beach, Calif. Archived from the original on November 11, 2018. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
  23. ^ Staggs, Brooke; Park, Jeong (April 26, 2019). "Orange County supervisor to challenge Rep. Harley Rouda for CA 48 House seat in 2020". Orange County Register. Archived from the original on April 26, 2019. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  24. ^ "STATEMENT OF VOTE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTION MARCH 3, 2020" (PDF). California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 17, 2020. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  25. ^ "November 3, 2020, General Election - United States Representative" (PDF). California Secretary of State. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 10, 2021. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  26. ^ a b Staggs, Brooke (February 3, 2021). "Who's already running for Congress in Orange County in 2022?". Orange County Register. Archived from the original on February 28, 2021. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  27. ^ Staggs, Brooke (July 7, 2021). "Former Rep. Harley Rouda missed deadlines to report stock trades". Orange County Register. Archived from the original on November 24, 2021. Retrieved November 24, 2021.
  28. ^ Levinthal, Dave; Leonard, Kimberly. "On the congressional-comeback trail, Democrat Harley Rouda appears to violate the federal STOCK Act". Business Insider. Archived from the original on November 24, 2021. Retrieved November 24, 2021.
  29. ^ Schnell, Mychael (December 21, 2021). "Rep. Katie Porter running for reelection in newly drawn California district". The Hill. Archived from the original on April 22, 2022. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  30. ^ Staggs, Brooke (December 23, 2021). "GOP Reps. Young Kim, Michelle Steel target new districts in 2022 elections". Orange County Register. Archived from the original on April 27, 2022. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  31. ^ Haberkorn, Jennifer; Mason, Melanie; Mehta, Seema (December 22, 2021). "With California's congressional maps set, candidates swoop in". LA Times. Archived from the original on December 26, 2021. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  32. ^ "Former Orange County representative ends campaign to return to house". spectrumnews1.com. Archived from the original on April 22, 2022. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  33. ^ "With congressional run on back burner, Harley Rouda focuses on PAC to elect moderate Democrats". January 12, 2022. Archived from the original on January 11, 2023. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  34. ^ Doherty, Erin (January 11, 2023). "Former Rep. Harley Rouda announces bid to fill Katie Porter's House seat". Axios. Archived from the original on January 11, 2023. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  35. ^ "2018 California primary election results" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on May 8, 2021. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  36. ^ "2018 California general election results" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on April 25, 2019. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  37. ^ Rouda, Harley (January 22, 2024). "Harley Rouda: Character matters. That's why Katie Porter is unfit for the United States Senate". Orange County Register. Retrieved February 5, 2024.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 48th congressional district

2019–2021
Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative