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GOP rep takes a risky stand in support of housing discrimination

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) won't endorse a bill to ban anti-LGBT housing discrimination -- no matter what it costs him.
In this Nov. 13, 2013 file photo, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.
In this Nov. 13, 2013 file photo, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Which congressional districts are most likely to flip from "red" to "blue" in 2018? A good place to start is with the districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but which are currently represented by Republican lawmakers.

Take California's 48th congressional district, for example, where Clinton narrowly prevailed, while far-right Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) won re-election with relative ease. Democrats at the state and national level believe they have a real chance to succeed here, thanks in part to Rohrabacher's antics and assorted controversies.

Take last week's developments, for example, when Rohrabacher effectively endorsed housing discrimination against LGBTQ Americans.

Rohrabacher initially made the remarks last week while speaking to a group of National Association of Realtors members who had congregated in his office. Members of the group were there to ask Rohrabacher to support HR 1447, a bill that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of classes protected against discrimination in the Fair Housing Act (FHA) under the Civil Rights Act of 1968."I presented the Fair Housing Act to him along with [information on HR 1447]," Wayne Woodyard, one of the NAR members in the room, told NBC News. "Almost before I could finish, he let out, 'I will not support it.'"

Woodyard went on to say, "There were about 10 people in his office, and we were all kind of shocked." When a former aide to the congressman suggested he may not fully understand the issue at hand, Rohrabacher reportedly responded, "No, I do understand."

The more the realtors tried to steer him away from endorsing discrimination, the more the Republican lawmaker rejected their appeals.

The National Association of Realtors, which had backed Rohrabacher's re-election, soon after announced it had withdrawn its support.

NBC News' report added, "California's housing laws make it illegal to explicitly discriminate against someone due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. For example, a home seller in California wouldn't legally be able to include 'Same-sex couples need not apply' on their housing ad."

There's a bipartisan bill pending in Congress that would extend similar protections nationwide, but it's apparently a bill Rohrabacher won't support -- even if it costs him supporters, even if it affects his re-election prospects.

According to the Orange County Register's account, Rohrabacher told the delegation of realtors, "Every homeowner should be able to make a decision not to sell their home to someone (if) they don't agree with their lifestyle." The congressman later confirmed the accuracy of the sentiment.

Primary Day in California is a week from today, and thanks to the state's unique top-two primary system, there's a decent chance Rohrabacher will effectively win re-election thanks to the large number of Democrats running in this district.