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2018 electionCalifornia in Congress

Democratic challenger hits Rep. Dana Rohrabacher on Russia

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's long-running defense of Russia is the centerpiece of a new online ad from one of his 2018 opponents, Laguna Beach real estate businessman and attorney Harley Rouda.

The ad, which will run on Facebook, begins with several recent interviews by Rohrabacher focused on Russia or nearby Baltic states.

Rouda, 55, then asks the camera: "Had enough of him? I have."

Rouda calls Rohrabacher "one of the most entrenched members of Washington's establishment." He says that if he is elected to replace the Orange County Republican, he would get "tough on Russia."

Two congressional committees are investigating alleged Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Rohrabacher has been dismissive of concerns that Russia tried to interfere, saying that the United States has interfered in the elections of other countries.

Though political challengers have tried using Rohrabacher's outspoken defense of Russia against him in the past, he has gone on to win reelection by large margins. But his Huntington Beach district seems to be changing. Though reelecting Rohrabacher by a 16.6% margin in November, voters in the district narrowly picked Hillary Clinton for president, and protesters have demonstrated outside his office repeatedly since President Trump was sworn in.

Rohrabacher said Wednesday that the contacts he's made in and out of the country during nearly three decades in Congress benefit his constituents.

“I have a very laudable track record when it comes to both foreign policy, and technology and science policy,” he said. “I am very confident that what I have accomplished has been good for our country and made a major difference. My constituents will, I believe, be able to see that."

Rouda announced his bid to challenge Rohrabacher on March 3. Fellow Laguna Beach Democrat Boyd Roberts, a 57-year-old real estate broker, has also announced plans to run, saying his campaign will rest in large part on attacking the congressman's friendly views toward Russia.

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UPDATES

3:08 p.m.: This post was updated with a response from Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.

This post was originally published at 12:21 p.m.

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