By: Matt Coker

Democrats seeking the 48th Congressional District seat held by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Putin’s Loveseat) are scheduled to gather for a debate Wednesday in Costa Mesa.

However, not all nine announced Democratic candidates have been invited to participate in the first of four 48th District Congressional Debate Series events this month.

Set to debate from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday in Orange Coast College’s Robert B. Moore Theater are Hans Keirstead, Harley Rouda, Omar Siddiqui, Laura Oatman, Michael Kotick and Rachel Payne. Left out are fellow announced Democratic candidates Boyd Roberts, Fidel Navarro and Tony Zarkades.

Indivisible OC 48, the progressive group hosting the debate series, is basing participation on whether a candidate is an incumbent followed by the next four with the highest Voter Support Scores (VSS). The VSS formula, which is calculated with data from each campaign and the Federal Election Commission, considers the total number of donors and amounts raised from the congressional district and the total cash on hand.

Counting all Democrats, Republicans and independents, there are 13 candidates on the June open primary ballot, but with a debate duration of two hours, “we cannot have a meaningful and informative discussion of the issues. Therefore, the maximum number of contenders should not exceed five,” reasons Indivisible 48, which considers the VSS selection process “transparent” and “objective.”