In the affluent coastal district covering a large swath of Orange County, Democrats have a scant 1.6-percentage-point voter registration edge over Republicans.
Who are the candidates?
Porter, who worked as a consumer protection attorney and is on unpaid leave from her post as a UC Irvine law professor, has drawn national attention since being elected to Congress in 2018.
Her popularity among progressives has been driven by her sharp questioning of corporate executives and government leaders during congressional hearings — a whiteboard and marker her constant props — and her identity as a minivan-driving single mom.
In her reelection bid, Porter touts her efforts to fight special interests and advocate for consumers, homeowners and middle-class families. She opposes oil drilling and supports reproductive rights.
Baugh, a Huntington Beach attorney, served in the California Assembly from 1995 to 2000 and was chairman of the Orange County Republican Party from 2004 to 2015.
On his campaign website, Baugh states that he’s founding chairman of the activist group Institute for Fair Elections; a Times investigation found the group had made allegations of voter fraud despite evidence contradicting those claims.
In 1999, Baugh agreed to pay a civil fine of $47,900 for nine violations of the state Political Reform Act stemming from misconduct allegations in his 1995 election to the Assembly.
Among Baugh’s congressional priorities are supporting charter schools, allowing parents to use public funds to send their children to private schools, opposing so-called sanctuary cities and citizenship for people who intentionally violated immigration laws and reducing government regulations on business. His campaign website says he opposes oil drilling off California’s coast.
In media interviews, Baugh has said he opposes abortion and same-sex marriage.
In 2018, Baugh ran against his onetime mentor, GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, arguing that the longtime congressman was ineffective and highlighting his support of Russia. Baugh came in fourth in the nonpartisan primary, though Rohrabacher ultimately lost his seat.
Where is District 47?
This affluent Orange County district reaches from Seal Beach to part of Laguna Beach and includes the inland cities of Costa Mesa and Irvine — including the UC campus there — and parts of Laguna Hills and the retirement community of Laguna Woods.
Where Porter and Baugh stand on key issues
Porter has been a staunch advocate of abortion rights. She is a co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which passed the House and would codify Roe vs. Wade.
“All Americans should be able to decide for themselves when and if they’d like to become parents. The freedom to seek abortion care is essential to the financial well-being of our nation’s families and our workforce,” she told The Times. “Politicians should not come between patients and their doctors when it comes to these healthcare decisions, and I have voted for legislation that would create a statutory right to abortion.”
Baugh did not respond to The Times’ questions about abortion. He told the Orange County Register in an interview that he believes “life begins at conception.”
“Others may disagree as to precisely when life begins, but there should be no disagreement as to whether it is OK to abort children who have reached the point of viability. We need to promote a culture of life in America — not a culture of termination,” he told the newspaper.
In an interview with The Times, Porter said that “over 50% of current inflation pressure is coming from corporate profits rather than from increased costs of input or increased cost of wages.”
She supported the Inflation Reduction Act, a bill passed by Democrats and signed in August by President Biden.
She said in a statement in August that the legislation “protects tax dollars by finally empowering Medicare to negotiate drug prices, ending sweetheart deals for polluters, and making big corporations pay their fair share — all while lowering healthcare and energy costs for families and reducing the deficit.”
Baugh said in an interview with The Times that he does not support the Inflation Reduction Act and believes it will not reduce costs for consumers.
To tackle inflation the government has to “stop the runaway spending that’s going on in Washington, where every progressive spending itch gets scratched,” he said.
“Only in Washington, D.C., would you find spending more money and taxing the American people more a solution to a problem that was created by too much spending and too much taxation,” he added.
How and where to vote
Ballots have been mailed to all 22 million registered voters in the state. Californians can return ballots by mail, drop them at collection boxes or turn them in at voting centers. They can also cast ballots early at voting centers or wait until Nov. 8 to vote at their neighborhood polling places.
Find out how to register, check voter status and voter here:
For more election coverage
California voters head to the polls Nov. 8 to vote for U.S. senator, governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, controller, treasurer, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, the state Board of Equalization, judges, members of Congress and the state Legislature. Local races in Los Angeles include mayor and county sheriff. There are also seven ballot propositions on the table.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.