Published: May 12, 2010 11:10 a.m.

Democrats vie in primary to face Rohrabacher this fall




WASHINGTON Two novice Democrats are vying for a chance to unseat 11-term incumbent Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in the 46th District.

Ken Arnold is a business systems analyst from Westminster who is being endorsed by the California Democratic Party. In 2008, he lost the race for the 68th Assembly District to incumbent Van Tran by 54 to 46 percent.

Arnold said that many consider his bid to defeat a well-established incumbent like Rohrabacher "impossible." But he said he believes his 30 years of experience managing information and business systems give him an edge over the Costa Mesa Republican.

"We're in the 21st Century," Arnold said. "Congress and our district – especially with so many aerospace companies – need someone that understands science and technology, and that's certainly not the incumbent."

Arnold's opponent in the Democratic primary is Jay Shah, a physician from Long Beach, who has practiced in India, the United Kingdom, Canada and the U.S. He believes in eliminated earmarks and term limits for lawmakers.

The 46th District winds its way from Huntington Beach, along the coast of Orange County and north into Long Beach and Palos Verdes.

According to FEC filings, neither candidate had raised more than $500 as of March 31. That's compared to Rohrabacher, who had $196,305 in the bank.

But even with a Democrat's chances of unseating Rohrabacher in November admittedly slim, Arnold said there are other goals that can be achieved just by running, such as tying up some of the incumbent's time and money so that he cannot give to other candidates and getting Democratic voters to turn out for other Democratic candidates like Jerry Brown for governor, and Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is running for re-election.

"We lost (the) Massachusetts (Senate race) because the Democrats didn't come out to vote," Arnold said. "Even if I don't win, I want to make a good showing."

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