Congressional candidates (left to right) Katie Porter, Harley Rouda and Mike Levin.
A year ago, Barack Obama posed with congressional candidates (left to right) Katie Porter, Harley Rouda and Mike Levin. Photo by Chris Stone

Rep. Katie Porter, the 45-year-old law professor who helped turn Orange County blue in 2018, has crowned Sara Jacobs as the progressive choice for San Diego’s 53rd Congressional District.

On Friday, Porter announced her endorsement of Jacobs in the competitive district, where a Democrat is expected to succeed retiring Rep. Susan Davis.

Progressive rivals for the seat include Councilwoman Georgette Gómez — who like Jacobs didn’t enter the race until Davis stepped aside — and Navy veteran Jose Caballero, who challenged 10-term Davis from the left.

Democrat Joaquín Vázquez and lone Republican Famela Ramos are other entries seeking to finish in the top two in the March 3 primary.

“I would be proud to have Sara as a colleague and progressive ally,” Porter said in a statement.

“Last year, the American people elected a new generation of leaders to Congress – women, progressives and policy wonks – who are changing the way Washington does business,” she said.

Jacobs, the 30-year-old granddaughter of Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs, lost a 2018 race to Mike Levin in the Orange County-straddling 49th District. She is scholar in residence at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego and is active with several nonprofits.

Jacobs said in a statement: “In her first term in Congress, Rep. Katie Porter has shown us all what Congress can be when we send policy experts to represent us — we can debate policy and talk about the real issues facing the American people.”

Porter has acquired a reputation for incisive questions at committee hearings, sometimes leading to embarrassment, such as when Housing Secretary Ben Carson couldn’t answer her question: “Do you know what an REO is?” (Carson replied “Oreo?”)

“I’m proud to have led the fight on holding corporations and special interests accountable, and lifting up the voices of middle-class families in the halls of power,” the 45th District representative said Friday.

“But we can’t let up now, and I can’t do it alone. … I know what it takes to be an effective, progressive, policy-focused legislator in Congress, and I know that Sara Jacobs has what it takes to get things done on Day One.”