Commentary: Rohrabacher should halt his negative campaigning against Baugh

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) speaks during a rally outside of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) speaks during a rally outside of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015.
(Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call,Inc.)

As an elected Central Committee member for the Republican Party of Orange County, I am disappointed in the direction Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) has decided to take his reelection campaign.

Over the course of the past week, our household has received three pieces of mail from Mr. Rohrabacher attempting to smear Scott Baugh, one of 15 candidates challenging him. Additionally, my Facebook feed has been filled with numerous advertisements calling Mr. Baugh a corrupt politician.

I have been involved in Republican politics for over 20 years and have volunteered countless hours for conservative candidates and causes, including for Mr. Rohrabacher, and I am frustrated by this approach.

To initially go on the offensive against someone, especially a person with the accomplishments and accolades that Mr. Baugh has earned over the years, is extremely disappointing. As a former Assembly Republican leader and chairman of the Republican Party, not to mention his civic participation as founder of both the O.C. Marathon and Pacifica Christian High School, Mr. Baugh has served this community honorably.

Mr. Rohrabacher should stick to discussing the policies and issues which residents and businesses in our communities care about. Attacking a candidate from the get-go gives voters the impression that Mr. Rohrabacher is concerned Mr. Baugh is a threat.

Perhaps Mr. Baugh is, but as a fellow Republican, this is not the appropriate tactic in garnering support. I mean no disrespect to Mr. Rohrabacher, but enough is enough. Mr. Baugh is a respectable public servant and deserves to be treated as one.

President Ronald Reagan (someone Mr. Rohrabacher once worked for) famously proclaimed during his 1966 campaign for governor of California “thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” This is known in Republican circles as the “11th Commandment.”

Mr. Rohrabacher would be best to heed those words, as many voters, including myself, are getting tired of the dirty politics that have dominated campaigns for too long. Please stick to the issues that best serve the constituents of the 48th Congressional District.

ERIK WEIGAND is an elected representative for the Republican Central Committee of Orange County and serves the body as its treasurer.