Democrat Seeking to Replace Representative Katie Porter Drops out of Race After Suffering Fall, Brain Injury

Former Democrat Representative Harley Rouda of California formally withdrew from the race to replace Democrat Representative Katie Porter on Tuesday. He said he suffered a fall that resulted in a brain injury. 

Rouda’s campaign issued the announcement, saying Rouda had met with his doctor, who recommended he end his campaign. Rouda said he suffered a “moderate traumatic brain injury with two intraparenchymal hemorrhages.”

“Thankfully, my doctors say that I have started on the path to a full recovery. I want to thank the incredible nurses, doctors, and medical staff who made this possible and whose professionalism and care was a comfort during this trying time,” wrote Rouda. 

“But on their advice, I am ending my campaign for California’s 47th congressional district today. This is not the outcome I wanted. But, my family comes first, and to be there for them, I need to focus fully on my recovery in the months ahead,” added Rouda. 

In January, Porter announced she plans to run for Senate in 2024, leaving her House seat open. Porter is seeking the Senate seat currently held by the retiring Senator Dianne Feinstein. Feinstein is 89 years old. 

Controversies surround Porter

She has been hounded by controversies since beginning her campaign, with claims surfacing in December that she fired a staffer, who was a wounded veteran, for allegedly giving her Covid-19. Her office denied the claims. Porter also faced accusations of ridiculing other staff and using racist rhetoric.

On a social media account called Dear White Staffers, screenshots of conversations with anonymous ex-Porter staffers alleged they heard the representative saying “rude/racist things” while attempting to “mask it as edgy humor” and badmouthing Dem leadership. 

“Thinks she knows better and talks s— about other members, leadership, staffers, local [elected officials], etc., at full volume, in public, and to literally [anyone] who will listen,” read the post. 

The anonymous account also said Porter was “completely disinterested” in representing her Congressional district, adding that the only staffers who appear to “survive are superfans that participate in or overlook the abuse.”

“Give it time, and it will rank among the legendary toxic offices,” read the post.

For her part, Porter had already endorsed state Senator Dave Min to succeed her in the House. Porter and Min were law professors at the University of California, Irvine, before foraying into politics. 

Rounding out the field for Democrats for the seat so far, area community activist Joanna Weiss and Huntington Beach business owner Dominique “Dom” Jones. 

On the GOP side, Newport Beach resident and businessman Max Ukropina announced Monday that he would run for the nomination. Scott Baugh, a former California State Assemblyman, who lost in his bid to unseat Porter in 2022, is also running for the seat. 

Ukropina, in a Twitter post, offered his best wishes to Rouda for a quick recovery, “The Ukropina family is praying for you, Harley. You got this. Thank you for continuing to care for our district.”