Batgirl’s Villains: Meet the 4 Republicans hoping to take out Katie Porter!




One of the most memorable things about Batman was the variety of colorful villains who never stopped coming after him, and after the beloved Gotham City which he protected so valiantly from them – the Joker, the Penguin, Catwoman, the Riddler.

Similarly, Progressive Congresswoman Katie Porter, who famously dressed as Batgirl on the floor of Congress last Halloween as the impeachment of Trump was being launched, has four Republican opponents this year, each of whom is hoping to wrest back her South County seat from her for their party.

These four Republicans – Laguna Hills Mayor Don Sedgwick, Mission Viejo Mayor Greg Raths, OC Board of Education Trustee Lisa Sparks, Yorba Linda Councilwoman Peggy Huang – will have to face each other and Katie in March’s “jungle primary.” And last week they all participated in a candidate forum in Mission Viejo.  The Orange Juice Blog couldn’t get down there, but the good news is we didn’t need to, given the fine reporting from the OC Political Blog’s Chris Nguyen.  (I wish we could get that blog’s RSS feed to work here.)

Chris pretty much wrote down everything – more than you probably feel like reading.  What I’ll do here is sort through it all, find things that all four of these Republicans have in common, and a few things that make them stand out from one another.  Remember, this is them talking to fellow “conservative” Republicans – a “Trump hat” was raffled off at the end! – so if the eventual GOP candidate ends up “moderating” their message in the summer and fall, it’ll be good to go back to this, to see what they promised the Trumpy faithful back in November 2019.

They all agreed…

Unsurprisingly, all four of these worthies insist that Congresswoman Porter “does not represent the values of this district.”  This is up for debate of course – the UCI professor did win election last year by over 12,000 votes (52.1% to 47.1%) against rightwinger Mimi Walters, and without misrepresenting herself in any way I’m aware of.  Mayor Raths doubled down, claiming that the 45th district is Republican with this proof: because the city councils there have Republicans in the majorities.  Not a sound argument, Mayor, and this district like the whole county chose Hillary over Trump.

They all see the upcoming election as some kind of choice between “socialism” and “free enterprise,” as though Porter were a scary socialist, and as though our nation’s economy is NOT a hybrid of capitalism and democratic socialism (like in nearly every nation.)  Huang, born in Taiwan, plays the socialism = communism = dictatorship card, having apparently learned this equation from her anti-PRC parents.

Another thing they all promise is to completely defund Planned Parenthood, relied on by millions of Americans for reproductive healthcare and sexual health information.  Dr Sparks calls this “an easy question!”  And Mayor Raths, in one of the very few comments the slightest bit critical of President Trump, says he’s disappointed that this wasn’t already done when Trump had a Republican congress in 2017-18.

They all oppose gun control, Sedgwick pointing out with startling originality that “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people!”

HR 5, the “Equality Act,” which is co-sponsored by Porter, would “add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, enshrining such nondiscrimination protections under federal law.”  (Below, Porter explains why it’s necessary.)  All four of these Republicans oppose it strongly, based on some notion of “religious freedom” – that is, freedom of people to engage in discrimination with the excuse their religion tells them to.  Here’s Katie:

Rep. Porter advocates for passage of the Equality Act

The House just passed the Equality Act! I was proud to stand with our LGBTQ friends and neighbors in #CA45 & across the country and to vote in favor of this historic legislation. Hear me explain why I supported this bill.

Posted by Rep. Katie Porter on Friday, May 17, 2019

So, to wrap up so far, all four of these Republicans are against THAT, against any new gun control laws, and want to completely defund Planned Parenthood.

Peggy Huang, known mainly to this blog as one of the TCA directors most determined to force the 261 toll road into the heart of San Clemente, does seem to be the most knowledgable of the four.  When the other three babbled and generalized aimlessly, she made a point of reminding them what the actual question was about.  For example, Peggy was the only one who seemed to know what Net Neutrality is (although as a typical rightwing corporatist, she opposes it.)  In contrast Raths grumbled about keeping the government out of people’s homes, and both Sparks and Sedgwick emphsaized that they love free speech but hate hate speech.  (And according to Sedgwick the internet is important so we can read President Trump’s tweets!  I’m serious, he said that.)

Dr. Sparks who claims to have been a Republican “since age 2” (unless that’s a Chris Nguyen typo) says that she’s interested in the Blue Dog Caucus if she makes it into Congress – a curious choice as that is a group for conservative DEMOCRATS.  As for now though, Sparks is part of the disastrous three-member OCBOE majority that’s currently holding the district’s budget hostage while greenlighting every new profiteering charter school that gets rejected by local OC Boards.

I have to admit that, on immigration, all of them except Sedgwick sound more enlightened than their Dear Leader, credibly supporting comprehensive reform:  Sparks and Huang both have firsthand experience with how slow and dysfunctional our system is now;  Sparks spoke of her DACA students at Chapman and Raths served with brave DACA Marines.  And Rath added that the US needs immigrant labor – we have more jobs here than we can fill.

Sedgwick is proud of having been on FOX News SIX TIMES in the last four months, warning America to look at California as a lesson in how badly things can go if people vote Democrat.  One thing that really disturbed him recently about Congresswoman Porter was her reacting to a school shooting by offering “thoughts and minds,” totally leaving out PRAYER!  Beyond that, “the freedoms of our country are at stake in this country, and our economy is headed toward socialism, and I will do something to reverse that.”  And of course, keep the internet free so we can read President Trump’s tweets.

The only Trump-related question referred to the President’s tariffs on China, and you could see how hard it was for any of these Republicans to utter a cross word about the Orange Monster.  All four of them said they are against tariffs, but all of them except Huang went on to basically it’s okay if Trump does it, to China.

So we’ll see which of these four make it through the jungle primary March 3, and we’ll remind everyone of what they said to their fellow Republicans last week.  And my money will be on Katie.

(PS.  Chris didn’t say who won the coveted “Trump hat.”)

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.