Politics

‘Reagan Democrat’ Enters Race Against Rohrabacher

Omar Siddiqui is third Republican-turned-Democrat to challenge Republican incumbent

Omar Siddiqui, right, accepts a Director’s Community Service Award in April 2016 from then-FBI Director James Comey for helping to build relationships between the FBI and Los Angeles’ Muslim community. (fbi.gov)

California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher received another challenger when Omar Siddiqui announced he would run in California 48th Congressional District.

 

Siddiqui is a Muslim lawyer who works in Costa Mesa. He was a Republican until 2009 and described himself to the Orange County Register as a “Reagan Democrat.” He said he agrees with Democrats on most social issues like women’s rights and LGBTQ equality, but is more conservative on energy and fiscal policy.

 

Siddiqui pointed to Rohrabacher's being “somewhat controversial with his ties to Russia” as a reason for running.

 

Rohrabacher has called for improved relations with Russian president Vladimir Putin and has been dubbed “Putin’s favorite congressman.”

 

But Siddiqui also told the Register that Democrats need to stop complaining about President Donald Trump. 

 

“At this point in our history, we need unity,” he said. “I disagree with a lot that President Trump has done, but I don’t think we can focus the next 3½ years on what President Trump hasn’t done,” he said.

 

Siddiqui worked with the FBI and CIA to build better relationships with the Muslim community in Southern California, and received an award from former FBI director James Comey, who was fired by Trump earlier this year over the bureau’s investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s election.

 

So far, Siddiqui is the sixth Democrat to jump into the race and the third who was previously a Republican. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting California's 48th district, which broke for Hillary Clinton despite re-electing Rohrabacher in 2016.

 

California’s primary system has the two candidates who won the highest number of votes in the primary advance to the general election regardless of political party.

 

Among the other Democrats in the race is Harley Rouda, who said in March he had raised $100,000 in the 12 days after he announced his candidacy.

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