Over the course of the next 10 months, I’ll be interviewing a handful of 2020 Republican candidates running for U.S. Senate and Congressional races. Here’s my first 2020 interview with NH U.S. Senate candidate Don Bolduc if you missed it.
One campaign that has piqued my interest is Illinois’ 14th District—a swing district represented by Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL) that went for Trump in 2016. Cook Political Report rates it PVI: R+5, so Republicans are eager to retake the seat come November. Underwood pals with members of “The Squad” and recently voted for impeachment—factors that can spell doom for her re-election prospects.
26-year-old Catalina Lauf, who worked in Uber’s Chicago corporate office and is a past advisor to President Trump, believes her conservative bonafides and youthful spirit can help her secure the Republican nomination.
Catalina agreed to speak with The Resurgent about her campaign, why it’s garnering a lot of attention, and explained the surge of conservative women running in 2020, for example. Here’s the candidate in her own words. (Her responses were lightly edited for clarity and brevity.)
Introduce yourself to our readers.
I was born and raised in a small town outside of Chicago, IL called Woodstock. My mother and her family fled Guatemala’s political instability and civil war in 1980 in pursuit of the American Dream. My dad is a small business owner and entrepreneur from Chicago. After graduating from McHenry County College with an Associate’s Degree at just 17, I continued my education at Miami University of Ohio where I completed my bachelor’s degree in only two years. I jump-started my career by working in both the non-profit space and the private sector in Chicago and throughout the Midwest. I went on to work for Uber’s corporate office in Chicago, focusing on community engagement initiatives and strategic partnerships. President Trump’s historic 2016 campaign and his efforts to Drain the Swamp, and his drive to put all Americans first, inspired me. I left the private sector and in 2018 I was appointed by President Trump to serve as an Advisor at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
You are a young conservative running for Congress in a swing district. What first propelled you to run?
I am a direct product of the American Dream. My parents taught my sister and me the values of hard work, personal responsibility, and to have an unapologetic love of our country. I’m sick and tired of seeing the media and politicians like AOC [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] tell us that if we’re young, or female, or a minority, that we have to be a Democrat. I see her and her Squad trying to divide us and trying to replace our free-market, free enterprise system with socialism, Lauren Underwood included. I’m running for Congress because I believe it’s time my generation defended the promise of the American Dream against those who do away with it for their own political gain. IL-14 is my home. Lauren Underwood does not represent this district and I will fight with everything I have to ensure this district and this country remain free from the far left’s regressive ideologies.
Which movement figures inspire your philosophical thinking? Who greatly inspired you to get proactive in conservative/Republican politics?What makes you inclined to the Republican Party?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Edmund Burke, John Locke and Ayn Rand. But it was President Donald Trump in the modern political arena who inspired me to leave the private sector and get involved in politics. He disrupted a stale system and was a fighter for Americans who felt forgotten after decades of establishment politicians on both sides of the aisle who have for far too long, focused more on their own careers and interests instead of the people. His message of putting America First continues to inspire me today. I’m the underdog in this race. I’m up against politicians who have been running for office for decades, but so was President Trump when he ran for president in 2016. He was able to turn the political bubble in Washington, D.C., on its head and I intend to do the same for my home district.
What are your top issues on the campaign trail? What sets you apart from your Republican primary challengers?
I am a strong Constitutional Conservative who supports the President, and who will defend conservative values on a national level. Additionally, I am a fresh face, someone who has the ability to grow our party’s base and who is committed to putting the power back to the people. I’m tired of politicians who say one thing and do another just to get re-elected. Our party cannot afford to have backbenchers anymore. It’s time the Republicans have lions in Congress, representatives who will put the people and the United States first. My establishment opponents have made a career out of not standing for their values. They have voted “present” or in favor of things like the tax increases and “red flag” laws. They do not support the President – instead, focus on mindless talking points and are the same candidates our party continues to run and continues to lose with. From a policy perspective, as a member of Congress I will actually come to the table to talk solutions to fix our broken immigration system. I want to bring real reform by securing our border and ports of entry and closing immigration loop holes. On the economy, I plan to champion policies that will continue the economic progress President Trump has been made over the last three years, help small businesses by cutting back mindless regulations, and promote policies that help jump start communities in Illinois and around the country.
You recently tweeted that political opponents—including Democrats and Republicans—were trying to sabotage your ability to be on the Illinois ballot. Could you elaborate on this, why this occurred, and why you fought back?
We submitted over the number of required, verified signatures needed to get on the ballot in Illinois’s 14th Congressional District. That terrified the political establishment, so they pulled out the old playbook and tried to get me kicked off. I fought back because these career politicians weren’t just trying to invalidate me, they were trying to invalidate thousands of voters in the district who had signed my petition to get me on the ballot. After wasting time and money, our opponents withdrew their petitions. They were so scared and weak that when we went to Springfield to defend ourselves, our accusers did not even bother to attend the hearing. Our petitions were proven valid and our opponents’ political games backfired – not only were they embarrassed in court, but voters are more on fire to get behind our campaign.
IL-14 is a swing district that used to be Republican. The Cook Political Report rates it as a R+5 District, and President Trump won it in 2016 49.3% to Clinton’s 45.3%.The current incumbent, Lauren Underwood, has signaled she doesn’t represent all of her constituents with her vote for impeachment and with her falling in line with House Speaker Pelosi. If you are chosen as the GOP nominee, how do you plan to defeat Rep. Underwood? What’s your strategy?
Republicans are ready for new faces and new perspectives in the party. As the only millennial, I can be the future of the party for the next generation of conservatives, and people in this district really support that. That has translated into a strong grassroots movement on the ground, which will help start the General Election strong. As Lauren Underwood falls into lock-step with the far-left on everything from impeachment to the Green New Deal, I will highlight the striking differences between my vision for protecting the promise of the American Dream for IL-14 and the country, and not shy away from exposing Lauren Underwood’s socialist voting record, and the divisive language she has used during her time as a freshman Representative.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) recently tweeted that a historic number of Republican women, well over 180, are running for Congress in 2020. There are currently 13 GOP women in the chamber, compared to Democrat women currently serving. Why is it important to see more GOP women elected, especially those who are principled conservatives like yourself?
It is important to have more conservative women in office because we live in a representative democracy and our legislative bodies operate better when they represent the people they serve. I am tired of being asked how I can be a Republican as a woman. The Republican Party stands for individual liberty, for freedom, for American democracy. How could you be a Democrat? When half of the country is female and we only have 13 Republican women in Congress, it is clearly an area where we can improve and better represent the country as a whole. Other women are being inspired by our campaign. We are joining together to “Stop the Squad,” or the far-left liberal movement led by AOC and Illan Omar. These radical Democrats promote a message of hate, of division. Conservative women around the country aren’t having it. We’re standing up for each other and our party and are determined to win and hold these socialists accountable.
What issues are currently overlooked that you hope to draw more attention to if you’re elected to Congress?
Immigration is a huge issue that has been overly politicized. We need to come to the table with solutions, and as the daughter of someone who came here legally, I have various ideas on how it can actually be solved. This starts by securing our border, but also reforming the process. Additionally, we have a debt crisis that needs to be addressed but is rarely talked about anymore.
Anything else you’d like our readers to know about your race and candidacy?
I’d like them to know the energy we are seeing in our district and around the country. Voters are tired of the same old career politicians and are inspired by our campaign. I’d encourage all your readers to visit CatalinaforCongress.com and join our movement!
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