Republican Omar Navarro is trying again to unseat Rep. Maxine Waters, but this time, he has a new set of
Now a group of major GOP donors that spent millions on ads to elect President Trump also plans to take on the Los Angeles congresswoman in next year’s midterm election.
Either Trump supporters see a path to victory in a southern Los Angeles district where 60% of voters are registered Democrats, or they just want to punish one of the president’s most vocal detractors, a longtime legislator who is a darling of anti-Trump liberals.
Far-right rising star Navarro says it’s a bit of both.
“I had faith after Trump won that … we could topple someone like Maxine and win,” said the 28-year-old former car salesman who grew up in the district. “That’s the reality of life. There are always upsets.”
The 78-year-old Waters, who gained national recognition when she began calling for Trump’s impeachment, has achieved icon status and a nickname: Auntie Maxine. She has long been a conservative target for her no-holds-barred critiques of GOP policy, but the newfound fame made her an even bigger source of derision.
“She certainly doesn’t represent my opinion, or even come close to representing the administration’s views … and frankly is very caustic in the way she approaches the policy positions the administration has put out,” said Laurance Gay, managing director of Rebuilding America Now, the super PAC that says it plans to spend an undetermined amount on Waters’ race. “Some of our supporters whom I’ve talked to both in California and around the country would like to see her not in Congress.”
On paper, it is unlikely a Republican could win the predominantly Latino and black district that includes much of southern Los Angeles along the 110 Freeway, including Torrance and Inglewood. Just 14% of voters there are registered Republicans, and the district overwhelmingly backed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Waters, who is African American, won her last few elections with more than 70% of the vote, including when she beat Navarro last year.
Though Navarro, a Latino, said he sees a path to winning by appealing to the district’s growing Latino population, the candidate has made opposition to Waters a centerpiece of his campaign, relying on Republicans’ dislike of her to raise thousands of dollars every time he appears on Jones’ digital “Infowars” show and conservative media outlets.
“If people really want to take a jab at Maxine Waters and everything she’s saying against President Trump, donate to my campaign,” Navarro said on “Infowars” shortly after he announced his candidacy in late May.
“It’s who he’s running against obviously [that] is the big issue here, whether he wins or not,” Jones, who is known for saying the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary Schoolwas staged to promote gun control and other theories, said on the episode.
Navarro has latched onto anti-Waters and pro-Trump enthusiasm to become a bit of a darling himself during the last year. He livestreams video from Republican book signings and rallies across the country, posting constantly on social media and tagging prominent conservative figures.
Navarro’s digital savvy — he has nearly 100,000 Twitter followers — drew the interest of Stone, a longtime Republican operative who worked on Trump’s campaign and is advising Navarro.
“Maxine Waters is one of the most irritating critics of the president,” Stone said. “It’s a symbolic race in a sense.”
Navarro’s campaign stunts have won him even more attention. Video that included a mariachi band playing as he announced his bid in front of Waters’ home has garnered hundreds of thousands of views. Navarro called for the Secret Service to arrest Waters for saying at an LGBTQ event that she would “take Trump out tonight.”
She told CNN she was merely referring to impeaching Trump, and speculated about the motives of the people she thinks are teaming up against her.
“Those people who are so opposed to my leadership on impeachment are organizing — the right wing, the white nationalists, the KKK — they’ve organized an effort to try and, of course, defeat me in my election coming up and to discredit me,” she said.
Waters did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Controversial former Sheriff Arpaio, who was convicted of a crime related to alleged racial profiling of Latinos and pardoned by Trump, hosted a $125-a-ticket fundraiser for Navarro at Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes last month. The event ended with a skit in which a Waters impersonator who was wearing a wig pretended to attack conservative musician Joy Villa. Navarro intervened and pulled off the Waters wig as the dozen or so attendees applauded.