By: Andrea Adelson

A question about identifying foreign security threats to the United States elicited both half jests and dead serious replies at a candidate forum in Irvine Tuesday among five Democrats bidding to challenge the Republican incumbent in congressional District 48.

President Trump topped candidate Harley Rouda’s threat list. Among outside threats, the Laguna Beach resident conceded he sees Russian interference in elections as destabilizing to democracy.

Hans Keirstead, also from Laguna, identified as threatening cyber warfare that can cripple commerce and communication.

Omar Siddiqui, of Costa Mesa, fingered incumbent Dana Rohrabacher as the district’s greatest threat as well as Russian interference, terrorism and nuclear missiles.

“Trump,” agreed Laura Oatman, of Newport Beach. “He’s not foreign, though he is alien,” she said. She also pointed to the threat of a nuclear missile launch from North Korea potentially landing within the district.

Michael Kotick, the third Laguna candidate in the race, pointed to attacks on digital infrastructure.

Over more than two hours, moderator Andrea Bird-Steiner, an attorney and former military intelligence analyst, questioned the candidates about foreign policy and immigration. The event was the second of a series of debates organized by Indivisible OC 48 in the run up to California’s primary in June.

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