Lou Correa would be a much better Senate candidate than far-left Katie Porter

Democratic Rep. Katie Porter of Irvine just announced she’s running for the United States Senate from California. She’s anticipating the retirement of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, 89, who responded by saying, “Everyone of course is welcome to throw their hat in the ring, and I will make an announcement concerning my plans for 2024 at the appropriate time.”

Names also being tossed into the air, if not yet into the ring, are Reps. Adam Schiff of Pasadena and Barbara Lee of Oakland. With California’s Top Two system, it’s possible two Democrats could face one another in the November 2024 runoff. Indeed, the last time Feinstein ran, in 2018, she garnered just 54% of the vote against fellow Democrat Kevin de León.

But I have a better idea for a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate: Rep. Lou Correa of Santa Ana. I first met Lou 25 years ago when he was elected to the Assembly. He immediately impressed me as a nice guy seeking to work across the aisle with minority Republicans in the Legislature. Lou likewise worked across the aisle while on the Orange County Board of Supervisors. And he did the same in the state Assembly. Unlike Katie Porter, Lou Correa actually has a track record of working across the aisle and being open to ideas different from his.

Lou was my congressman from 2017-21, when I lived in Orange. I disagree with him on many issues, such as abortion and matters of federal spending. But he always has been approachable to talk about anything. Other constituents are likely to say the same.

Another plus is he’s always been close to the business community in his districts. That stems from his academic background: he received a BA in economics from Cal State Fullerton and a MBA from UCLA. He’s worked in the private sector as a banker and real estate broker, tangible experience that embeds him in his community. Like his predecessor, Loretta Sanchez, he belongs to the moderate Blue Dog Coalition in the House.  By contrast, Porter came to Orange County to be a liberal UC Irvine law professor and is not in touch with the local community. Porter barely won her 2022 race against Scott Baugh, despite spending tens of millions of dollars.

On the issues, Porter is far to the left. But Porter is obsessed with abortion, especially after last year’s Supreme Court decision returning the issue to the states, where it ought to be, even though last year’s Proposition 1 made it more legal in California than in any other state. She’s more concerned with abortion in Alabama than inflation in California.

In the Senate, we also would be stuck with more years of seeing Porter hold up her whiteboard to badger executives on their salaries, especially in the pharmaceuticals industry. But why doesn’t she use it to show the cost of excessive regulations of medications by the FDA?

Or the cushy life of law professors? In September 2022, the Associated News broke the story that Porter still lives in university-subsidized housing despite having a net worth in the millions and not teaching anymore. As a law professor, she received a total compensation package of as much as $308,925.

Her far-left ideas show just how out-of-touch she is.

In 2021, she signed on as a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Among other things, reported Reuters, “the plan calls for 100 percent of power demand to be met from zero-emission energy sources like wind and solar” — an impossibility as civilization depends on fossil fuels. Last year coal energy production hit a new high. China, Russia, India and other developing countries don’t care what AOC or Porter think about the climate.

In 2019, Porter backed Sen. Bernie Sanders’ socialist Medicare-for-All scheme. At the time, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated “the plan would cost $28 trillion through 2026.” That is, $4 trillion per year, almost doubling the amount of the 2019 federal budget. Without tax increases, that $28 trillion also would have almost doubled the current federal debt or $31 trillion. With tax increases, it would have caused a massive recession.

Besides Correa, there aren’t many great choices.

There’s Adam Schiff. Should he run, his Ahab-like obsession would remain harpooning the Great Orange Whale, Donald Trump. But California and America need senators who look not to pursue past vendettas, but to resolve existing problems.

I’ll always have a soft spot for Barbara Lee because she was the sole House member to vote against going to war with Afghanistan in 2001. That turned into a 20-year debacle. She was right. But Lee is just too radical in other areas.

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Back to Lou. Other positives are, like my grandparents, his were immigrants — although from Mexico instead of Romania. The state also could use another Latino in the Senate. He could work across the aisle to secure needed immigration reform. Contrary to the impression of some, Latinos are highly diverse. I know some who are big Trump supporters.

Sen. Alex Padilla, just re-elected, comes from L.A. area, and was a member of the L.A. City Council. Correa, although born in East L.A., graduated from Anaheim High and Cal State Fullerton. That means his experience is different and would give nuance to his actions in the Senate.

The last senator elected from O.C. was Republican Thomas Kuchel, in 1962, although John Seymour was appointed and served briefly, 1991-92. Senators and governors don’t all have to be from L.A. or the Bay Area.

In short, Lou Correa would be the ideal Democrat to run for the Senate. Here’s a slogan: Elect a Nice Guy for a Change.

John Seiler is on the SCNG editorial board.

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