After the Democratic Party seized control of the House of Representatives in November, the historically Republican stronghold of Orange County, Calif. became a central focus of the national media.
With four Republican districts flipping to Democratic control, Republicans are now mounting multiple challenges for 2020 to try to reverse what happened in 2018.
The 45th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Irvine, Tustin, Orange, Mission Viejo and parts of Anaheim, has a 3-point Republican registration lead, which led many to wonder where former Republican Congresswoman Mimi Walters went wrong last fall. After the final results came in, Democrat Katie Porter bested Walters by 4 percentage points.
As of June 2019, a number of Republican challengers have announced they are running against Porter. The Epoch Times spoke with Laguna Hills Mayor Don Sedgwick, who announced his campaign on March 7, about the state of the district and his decision to run.
“I believe that a United States Representative has to represent the community and I represent the community well. I’ve been married for over 30 years and I have four kids that I’ve raised in this area,” he said.
Sedgwick explained his deep involvement in the community ranging from sports activities, a scout leader for Boy Scouts and president of the student body of his high school and has been in local elected office for 23 years.
“I served on the Saddleback Valley Board of Education for 18 years. That covers five cities in this district: Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Laguna Woods and Laguna Hills. I feel like I have my finger on the pulse of this community and I reflect the community.”
Sedgwick described his accomplishments on the city council and as Mayor of Laguna Hills and how that can reflect well in Congress. “I’ll be able to use my record to my advantage. I’ve done it at the local level as far as eliminating debt, and representing the community and their values. I’ll continue to do that at the federal level. Both Democrats and Republicans are to blame when it comes to the national debt, we just haven’t really addressed it. We need to address this,” he said.
Sedgwick talked about how he and the city council eliminated debt at the local level.
“In my city, we made a commitment five years ago to eliminate debt and within the next five or six years, we will be one of the only cities in the state that will be 100% debt free.”
Sedgwick cited the cost of living in California as an issue that has made it difficult for many residents.
“It’s become far too expensive to live here. I’m concerned for my own children who want to live here someday. Part of the reason why it’s become so expensive is due to the over-regulation and the liberal philosophies of the role of government. They’ve over taxed and over regulated businesses and individuals.”
Sedgwick said he has confidence in the US economy and its continued growth, while warning that a deviation towards socialist policies would hamper all that has been accomplished. “We have the lowest unemployment in 50 years. This is not the time to deviate our policies into a socialistic approach to our economy. This is the time we need to continue to strengthen our economy.”
On this issue of public education, Sedgwick stated his concern about ideologies being pushed towards children.
“In our public schools, there are liberal agendas that are being pushed down from Sacramento into our public schools against the wishes of many parents. Those controversial programs and issues need to be excluded from our public schools. Parents should not feel uncomfortable sending their own children to public schools. Some issues need to be left in the home for parents to teach,” he said.
Mayor Sedgwick described what makes him different than the incumbent Katie Porter.
“I could not be more diametrically in contrast to what Katie Porter and her Progressive Caucus represents,” he said.
The Laguna Hills Mayor explained that the House Progressive Caucus, of which Porter is a member, supports the Green New Deal, which he described as “extreme” in nature and not reflective of the community.
Sedgwick also said he is opposed to Porter’s support for more government involvement in the economy and government involvement in healthcare. He also weighed in on her new track record in Congress, which can be brought to the attention of voters.
“In  Katie Porter had no record. She hadn’t been elected to any office at all. The community really didn’t know what she represented. Now she’ll have a congressional record that will likely be 100% in line with Nancy Pelosi. I think that the community will feel that voting record doesn’t represent them.”
When asked about how he would win voters over that voted in Katie Porter last November, Sedgwick touted his strong base.
“Having grown up in the area and having been [involved in the district for so many years], I have a large group of supporters who will work to educate the community about the differences between my philosophy and Katie’s.”
Sedgwick also weighed in on Mimi Walters’ loss in 2018. “Mimi was painted with a broad brush as an establishment candidate. That won’t happen to me. I’m a local guy and represent the local interests of our community.”
Unlike Walters, Sedgwick says that he opposes the SALT deductions in the tax code. “For Californians, it’s doesn’t help us. That’s an example of something that I would work to repeal.”
Mayor Sedgwick told the Epoch Times that if elected to Congress, his priorities on top of balancing the budget would be to focus on ending illegal immigration and lowering the cost of healthcare.
Sedgwick will be facing other Republican primary opponents, including Yorba Linda City Council Member Peggy Huang, Mission Viejo Mayor Greg Raths, prosecutor Ray Gennawey, Orange County Department of Education Trustee Lisa Sparks, and businessman Brenton Woolworth, who all intend on taking on Katie Porter in the 2020 race. California’s 2020 Primary election, will be on March 3, 2020 for all presidential and congressional races.