In California, Some GOP Incumbents Try To Keep Seats That Went To Hillary Clinton
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
It is Election Day, and we are getting reports from around the country. And we're going to turn now to the state that I am in right now, the state of California, where there are a number of critical races that could help determine control of the House. In several contests in the state, you have a Republican incumbent running in a district that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. And Capital Public Radio's Ben Adler joins me on the line from Sacramento. Hey there, Ben.
BEN ADLER, BYLINE: Good morning.
GREENE: So I think one thing we should make clear is, you're not at a traditional polling place, which is where we've been hearing from throughout the morning. You're at a voting center. Tell me the difference.
ADLER: Well, if you walk inside, it looks like a polling place. The difference is that there are far fewer of them because several California counties are adapting - and others will follow in future elections - this model - this system that other states like Colorado use, which is that every voter gets a ballot in the mail, and then they can drop - they can mail them back, drop them off at ballot boxes, or they can go ahead and bring them in to vote centers, which are open several days before the election and into Election Day. And so although I wasn't sure whether there would be a lot of voters here on Election Day, there are a lot in right now. It's a pretty steady stream at this library in a kind of suburban neighborhood of Sacramento.
GREENE: Oh, interesting. And we should say - I mean, you've been following a lot of the politics around the state, and California's sort of a hub of interesting activity this year, which - I mean, it actually means that we could be up very late tonight, or maybe even beyond tonight, looking at how some of these races play out, especially if control of the House is kind of up for grabs.
ADLER: So - and first of all, you know, California likes this. How often does California get attention paid to it in the - on the...
ADLER: ...National election, right?
ADLER: But because so many Californians vote by mail - probably well over 50 percent when all is said and done in this election - that means a lot of people are, of course, waiting to the last minute to decide, and those ballots are going to take days, if not weeks, to count. And so if control of the House hangs in the balance at the end of the (unintelligible), and if the Orange County and other California congressional districts are the ones that will tip the balance in the House, the entire nation could be waiting for weeks.
GREENE: With all eyes on California. Well, so many races to ask you about - one of interest - and we focused on it a good bit on our program - is in Orange County. It's the 48th Congressional District, where Republican Dana Rohrabacher is fighting to keep his job, a job that he's held for some three decades, right?
ADLER: He has served in the House for 30 years. He was a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, also traveled to Afghanistan to meet with the mujahedeen - so a lot of history for Congressman Rohrabacher. And he's come under some criticism for his ties to Russia, which he refuted quite strongly when I spent an hour with him a couple of weeks ago in his liberty headquarters at the top of a bar in Costa Mesa, which is just a little inland from Newport Beach. He is facing a moderate Democratic businessman, Harley Rouda, who emerged from the pack of Democratic challengers, including more liberal opponents. Democrats are eyeing this race in Orange County, as well as several others in California and a couple others in Orange County and a neighboring one involving Congresswoman Mimi Walters. That's a very tight race, as well.
GREENE: All right - Ben Adler of Capital Public Radio. Ben, we appreciate it. Thanks a lot.
ADLER: Anytime. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.