Thursday, June 7, 2018

Post-Primary Footnote at Irvine

Bruising Primary Drives Wedge Between UC Irvine Law Prof Candidates

6-6-18,, Karen Sloan

Katie Porter, a professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, on Tuesday narrowly defeated her faculty colleague, David Min, to secure a spot on the ballot for a Congressional seat following a hard-fought primary that turned ugly.

Porter snagged 20 percent of the vote—the second-highest percentage behind Republican incumbent Mimi Walters, for whom 53 percent of voters cast their ballot. Min won 17 percent of the vote, but only the top two vote-getters will appear on the November ballot under California’s primary system. (The results aren’t final, as absentee ballots have until Friday to arrive, but Porter currently has a 2,600 vote lead over Min.) 

The pool of law professors who run for federal office is fairly small, and it’s highly unusual for two professors from the same campus to compete against one another for the same seat.

The two had enjoyed a friendly relationship before the campaign. Porter said she helped to recruit Min to U.C. Irvine law school five years earlier, and he graduated from Harvard Law school one year after she did. But their relationship has soured amid the campaign, with Porter accusing her faculty colleague of dragging details about her divorce into the spotlight and Min denying involvement.

Porter and Min, both Democrats, hoped to flip trionally Republican Orange County blue by unseating Walters. California’s 45th Congressional District, which covers parts of Orange County, including the University of California, Irvine, voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, fueling Democratic hopes there. 

Porter still has a chance to bring the district into the Democratic fold, having apparently fended off Min and three other challengers in a closely watched primary. Neither Porter nor Min responded to requests for comment Wednesday.

“I am running for Congress to stand up to Trump and Mimi Walters, and to be the congresswoman that fights for OC families, not powerful special interests,” Porter wrote on Twitter after the results came in. “Tonight, thanks to 1000s of voters who cast a ballot for change, we moved one step closer to taking our fight to Washington.”

In a message on his campaign website, Min on Wednesday urged supporters to vote for Porter, while also acknowledging the rough and tumble nature of the campaign.

“I realize this has been a heated primary, but there is simply too much at stake to let our differences get in the way,” Min wrote. “Real lives are on the line.”


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