Harley Rouda likes to play himself as the people’s candidate backed by small donations from loyal constituents. On his Facebook and Twitter accounts, he accuses his opponent Michelle Steel of being beholden to big money.
However, history and even the current numbers paint a different picture. Back in 2018, the 48th district became the most expensive congressional race in history, due in large part to the Rouda campaign receiving a $4,000,000 donation from Michael Bloomberg. Back in January of this year, Rouda returned the favor by endorsing Mike Bloomberg for president.
Furthermore, the current donation numbers indicate that 8.89% of Rouda’s fundraising originates from small-dollar donations while 10.99% of Michelle’s donations are from small-dollar donors. That means Michelle has 1.2 times more grassroots donations than Harley Rouda.
If Rouda wins re-election, it will be important to see how he votes on matters involving UC Irvine, the Walt Disney Company, and Newkirk Enterprises. Each organization donated $20,000 to his re-election campaign. If four million buys an endorsement, I’m sure those donations buy at least a vote or two.