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45th District: Rep. Mimi Walters and Katie Porter

California’s 45th Congressional District, which covers inland Orange County, has sent a Republican to the House of Representatives every election since it was created in 1983. Two-term incumbent Rep. Mimi Walters of Laguna Beach, who lives just outside the district, won her 2016 election by 17 percentage points.

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However, in this summer’s primary, Walters earned just about 51% of the vote while the rest was split between four Democrats and a candidate with no party preference. UC Irvine law professor Katie Porter, a former protege of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), took the second spot. Republicans’ registration advantage in the district has fallen from 15 percentage points to seven in the last four years.

Porter, more progressive than the Democratic candidates she defeated in the primary, is leading Walters by seven points, according to a recent poll from UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies.

The district’s voters are most concerned with healthcare, immigration, the economy and gun laws, according to the IGS poll. Following is a review of their positions.

Mimi Walters
Rep. Mimi Walters, R-Calif., at the House Energy and Commerce Committee meeting to organize for the 115th Congress on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. (Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call,Inc.)
Katie Porter, a Democratic candidate for the 45th Congressional District in Orange County, attends a town hall meeting at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center in Mission Viejo on Tuesday night, Oct. 9, 2018. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Beach), left, and Democratic challenger Katie Porter. (Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call; Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Economy

Walters

  • "I think the tax reform package overall has had a very, very positive effect on my district. We may have a few [paying more]. But 90% of Americans are going to see a benefit," Walters told CNBC. "And remember, many people who are in the, let's say $200,000-$500,000 range, they had the alternative minimum tax. We've done away with it."
  • Walters has blamed government debt on overspending, saying the problem isn't a tax issue.

Porter

  • Says she will fight to overturn the Republican tax plan, saying it increased the national debt and will increase the taxes of middle-class families. She calls for reform that cuts taxes for the middle class but not corporations.

Proposition 6

Porter has broken with Democratic Party leaders to oppose the recent gas tax increase. Walters has donated to the effort to repeal the gax tax increase.

Immigration

The international bridge on the border between Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas.
The international bridge on the border between Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas. (Herika Martinez / AFP/Getty Images)

Walters

  • Supports a physical and "virtual" border walls, increased patrolling and using drones.
  • Believes Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients should be allowed to stay in the country if they have committed no crimes.
  • Wants to eliminate immigration preferences for all but spouses and minor children.
  • Does not support the the diversity lottery program.
  • Tweeted her opposition to family separations the day before President Trump issued an executive order halting their implementation.

Porter

  • Calls for immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for people in the country illegally.
  • Opposes building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
  • Said on Twitter that family separations are "unconscionable. This cannot be what our country stands for." She marched during an Irvine protest over the separations.
  • Supports the path to legal status provided in the DREAM Act and said of DACA recipients, at a February forum: “They are our friends, neighbors, families, our coworkers and we must fulfill our promise to them now.”

Healthcare

Walters

  • Voted to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the American Health Care Act, which a Congressional Budget Office report said would undermine coverage for people with preexisting conditions.
  • “The AHCA is a rare opportunity to provide Americans access to the low-cost, high-quality, patient-centered healthcare that they deserve," Walters told the Southern California News Group in an email. "This bill will lead to lower premiums, greater choice in coverage options and large reductions in the federal deficit."

Porter

  • Supports a single-payer healthcare model, according to an emailed statement to the Orange County Register; has not publicly explained how she wants to pay for it.
  • Porter proposes starting with a public option then moving to universal healthcare.
  • “Medicare for all is economically the solution to tackling the un-affordability of health care and the unevenness of health care costs,” Porter told the Orange County Register.

Gun Control

A gun shop employee in Tinley Park, Ill., outside Chicago, shows a Beretta 9mm handgun in 2014.
A gun shop employee in Tinley Park, Ill., outside Chicago, shows a Beretta 9mm handgun in 2014. (Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune)

Walters

  • Voted in favor of concealed carry reciprocity. (The measure passed the House and has not had a vote in the Senate.)
  • Holds an "A" rating from the National Rifle Assn. and an endorsement from the NRA's Political Victory Fund.
  • Voted for a resolution disapproving a Social Security Administration proposal that would include gun restrictions for people found incapable of managing their federal benefit payments.
  • When serving in the state Senate, she voted against a bill to allow immediate family members or law enforcement to file a temporary emergency "gun violence restraining order" against someone.

Porter

  • Supports a ban on assault weapons and mandatory background checks on all gun sales, according to her website.
  • Has promised she will not accept money from the gun lobby.

President Trump

Walters

  • Votes with Trump 98.9% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight's Trump tracker.
  • “I think [special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's] investigation is important and it needs to play out. ... I can't be held responsible for [Trump's] actions. I can only be held responsible for my own actions. ... I don't always agree with our president. For instance, I don't agree with the tariffs. And when I don't agree with them I speak up. So I am more interested in delivering the promises that I made to my constituents when I ran for Congress.”
    Mimi Walters to CNBC

Porter

  • “I think that some of Trump's actions represent a real threat to our democracy. We need to support the special investigation and [Mueller's] independence and allow him to find facts. ... Part of Congress' job is to be a check on the presidency. If you're not asking the right questions, if you're not looking at the evidence of the corruption, you won't see it even when it's there.”
    Katie Porter to CNBC
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