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    Kim and Steel choose MAGA over governing
    • October 25, 2023

    The GOP-controlled House of Representatives had gone three weeks without a speaker, after Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida – one of the House’s most flamboyant pro-MAGA members – led a motion to vacate the speaker’s chair because Kevin McCarthy had worked with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown.

    After a series of failed candidates, the GOP selected – and the House voted – to make Mike Johnson of Louisiana the new speaker. Johnson is little known, but was neck-deep in efforts to overturn the 2020 election. He even sent an email to House Republicans urging them to sign onto an amicus brief in a Texas lawsuit to invalidate electoral-college votes from several states.

    Before Johnson, the Republican caucus selected Jim Jordan of Ohio, a MAGA bomb-thrower. The House’s January 6 report called Jordan “a significant player” in efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Apparently, election denialism was a GOP requisite to lead the House.

    Nevertheless, Jordan and Johnson both secured the votes of two Orange County members who should have known better. U.S. Rep. Michelle Steel represents the 45th congressional district in the north-central county – a district where Democrats have a 6-percent voter-registration advantage.

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    Kim represents the 40th district, which includes Brea, Chino Hills, Corona and Mission Viejo. That district is more solidly Republican, although Joe Biden eked out a victory there. We would have expected both members to hold out for a speaker candidate who was less of an ideological rabble-rouser.

    We endorsed Steel in 2020. We appreciated her practical, conservative record. She told us Biden legitimately won the election and pointed to court decisions that refused to overturn the results.

    We also endorsed Kim, noting she’s “distinguished herself as part of a rare breed of Republican moderates.” During our interviews, Kim wouldn’t talk about Donald Trump, saying she was too busy focusing on her election to discuss him. She was most interested in “uniting us.”

    And yet with the speaker vote, they both gave in to the most extreme form of Trumpism. We look forward to hearing their justifications as the congressional races get underway.

    ​ Orange County Register