Greg Ramsay, a former healthcare administrator turned ice cream shop owner, will join the already crowded roster of Democrats hoping to unseat Republican Rep. Mimi Walters of Irvine.
Ramsay, 59, said in an interview that while the district's field is already full of "qualified Democrats," he believes his military experience and business background will set him apart.
"Democrats on their own don't have the registration to win this district," said Ramsay. "I think I have a great chance of attracting that crossover vote [of Republicans and nonpartisans]."
Republicans in Walters' 45th Congressional District hold a 9 percentage point voter registration advantage, and she has enjoyed large margins of victory in previous elections.
Ramsay, who served in the Navy and worked for years as a contract negotiator for healthcare companies, opened Andrew's Ice Cream and Desserts in the city of Orange a few years ago.
In a statement announcing his run, Ramsay said he opposes "tax breaks for the rich," the Trump administration's decision to end deportation protection for some people under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and President Trump's decision to ban transgender military service. He said he supports the idea of a single-payer healthcare system.
Six other Democrats have said they're running for the seat, which is among several the party has in its sights for 2018. They include former Obama administration advisor Brian Forde, UC Irvine law professors Dave Min and Katie Porter, businessman Ron Varasteh, former congressional staffer Kia Hamadanchy and actor Eric Rywalski.