The race for the Assembly seat in AD-69 is by far one of the most interesting and competitive to watch. It’s a race that screams for a debate on the issues and yet we’ve had but one half-hearted debate in March, conducted in Spanish, attended by two of the five candidates. The race has become a battle of mailers, endorsements, and IEs — but no substansive debate between all five of the candidates running.
We’re big fans of debates for the simple reason it that they help undecided voters decide which candidates know what they are talking about and which ideas to get behind.
We received a press release from the Julio Perez for Assembly camp renewing a call for a debate (you can see it below), and while we couldn’t agree more, this announcement is about a month too late. But props to Perez for even bringing it up. Santa Ana council member Michele Martinez and OC Clerk Recorder Tom Daly, both of whom skipped a debate in March for scheduling conflicts, haven’t called for one either. Francisco Barrigan, a Santa Ana activist, has already demonstrated his willingness to debate. Republican Joe Moreno has run a phantom campaign with his only meaningful accomplishment was a rebuttal to a Daly mailer put out by an IE in hopes that Republicans will vote for huim simply due to the “R” next to his name and that others will confuse him with the “other” Jose Moreno in Anaheim.
There really needs to be a debate here. But let’s be honest. We’re three weeks away and it ain’t gonna happen unless the Orange County Register, the Voice of OC, KOCE, of the League of Women Voters can pull it off. And now that voting by absentee ballot is underway, even if these organizations could schedule a debate, it’s doubtful candidates would even show up. This isn’t a race that should be decided on who has the most endorsements or the prettiest lawn signs, but instead of which candidate has the experience and ideas to make a difference in Sacramento.
Here’s the Perez announcement, and while we appreciate the props from the campaign and certainly stand by what we wrote, this announcement should have come out a month earlier:
Assembly Candidate Julio Perez Renews Call to Rivals for Debate With 14 Days Before Election, Says We Need Open Debate So Voters Can Make Informed Decision
Santa Ana, CA– Saying voters deserve to hear from candidates directly and unfiltered, Julio Perez today renewed the challenge to his rivals to debate their views in the race for the 69th Assembly District seat.
With only 14 days before the June 5th Primary Election, to date there has been only one debate held, but Michele Martinez and Tom Daly did not participate.
“Voters deserve to hear directly and unfiltered from the candidates running to represent them in Sacramento. If my rivals are afraid to stand up to voters’ questions in an open forum, how can they possibly stand up to the special interests in Sacramento?” asked Julio Perez, who has speaking with voters directly through neighborhood canvasses for the past six months. “I’m proud of my record helping create jobs and producing opportunities for businesses to prosper. By refusing to debate, my rivals are proving they are afraid of their records.”
A recent article in one Orange County’s top political blogs uncovered the contradictions made by Julio’s rivals based on their written responses to questions from the Orange County Register, satirically saying that “Daly and Martinez plan to fund education with an all cuts state budget.”
“Martinez and Daly are advocating a budget balancing approach focused entirely on cuts to existing programs,” wrote political blogger Dan Chmielewski in the Liberal OC. “Perez focuses on a balanced approach that cuts existing loopholes, and broadens the tax base in addition to cuts. Martinez thinks performance based budgeting will work in an assembly district where schools in Santa Ana are consistently at the bottom… It’s also hard to see how a cuts-only solution is going to not hit working families that Daly hopes to protect.”
An open forum where candidates can discuss the issues is the best way for Daly and Martinez to explain their contradictory views on education and their support from major oil corporations Perez said.
“California faces complex problems that won’t be solved by pre-written sound bites,” added Perez. “Since I began my campaign, I have been clear and direct with voters about my plan to get California back on my track. Let’s have an open, honest debate so voters can make an informed decision on who will best represent them in the State Assembly.”
The primary election is June 5, 2012 and the general election is November 6, 2012.