Races to Watch: In California, Rep. Mimi Walters Headlines Races Significant to HR Policy Issues

October 12, 2018

Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA), who sponsored HR Policy-supported legislation to give employees access to guaranteed sick leave and grant employers more compliance certainty, is facing one of the several serious challenges for Republican-held seats in predominantly blue California that could be the difference in determining which party controls the House of Representatives in January.

Rep. Walters, of California’s 45th Congressional District, introduced the Workflex in the 21st Century Act last year.  The bill would permit employers to give employees access to guaranteed sick leave and flexible work arrangements while granting employers certainty amid a patchwork of state leave laws.

  • The challenger:  Katie Porter is a former student of and co-author with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as well as a former consumer and bankruptcy attorney for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

  • Outlook:  In 2016 Hillary Clinton won the 45th District with about 50 percent of the vote, but Rep. Walters was re-elected with almost 59 percent support two years ago.  Recent polling suggests this race is shaping up to be a nail-biter.

Nearby in the 48th and 50th districts, Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Duncan Hunter (R-CA) are engaged in bitter duels in their respective and formerly “safe” Republican districts.

  • The challengers:  Rep. Hunter’s opponent is Ammar Campa-Najjar, who worked in the Department of Labor under President Obama and who could consequently become a leader for Democrats on labor topics should he be elected.  Republican-turned Democrat Harley Rouda is running against Rep. Rohrabacher, betting that more Orange County Republicans are disaffected with their party.

  • Outlook:  Both races are too close for comfort for the Republican incumbents.

Note: From now until the November 6 midterm elections, HR Policy will highlight the races of particular significance to HR policy issue areas.  Next week: A shoo-in or two could raise the profile on labor issues in 2019.