REGION — On June 5, California’s 49th Congressional District will be thrust into the national spotlight. There are 16 candidates vying for Rep. Darrell Issa’s seat after the congressman announced in January he would not be seeking re-election.
All the candidates will compete in a top-two primary and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to the November general election.
California’s 49th Congressional District is located in the southern portion of the state with portions of both Southern Orange County and western San Diego County.
Here are the 16 candidates in alphabetical order:
Doug Applegate (D) Retired Marine colonel and progressive Democrat, narrowly defeated by incumbent Rep. Darrell Issa in 2016.
Quote: “I believe Congress is a function of the people, by the people, and for the people. For too long, we have sent politicians to Washington, D.C., who play into the corruption of special interests over the needs of Americans and the nation. We need problem solvers in our government. We need new, positive leadership committed to integrity, accountability and transparency in a Congress that is willing to take big-money’s influence out of our Government.”
Issues: Strengthen the economy, save the middle class without deficit spending. Applegate believes in fair gender pay and access to quality health care for all Americans.
America’s economy depends on wise investments to build the world’s best transportation network, an outstanding communications system and a fully integrated, nationwide, renewable energy program.
U.S. mandatory sentencing laws and resulting incarceration rates are immoral, racist and socially destructive. American government must honor its contracts with working Americans.
Build bridges, not a wall, and we need comprehensive immigration reform that provides pathways to citizenship. No human being is illegal.
Rocky Chávez (R) Retired Marine colonel, Republican member of California’s 76th State Assembly district. Chávez briefly ran for election to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barbara Boxer in 2016
Quote: “It’s time we come together and focus on progress, not partisan politics and gridlock. We need to celebrate what unites us, not what divides us. This has guided my work in the state Assembly. And it will guide my work in Congress, where I’ll work for solutions that benefit us all as Americans — a strong economy, a strong military, rebuilding our infrastructure and protecting public safety and national security.”
Issues: Chávez says “peace through strength” isn’t just a slogan, but an important truth in this increasingly dangerous world; believes in strengthening the military and expanding national defenses, to invest in our troops and to ensure that we develop and deploy the new military technology so that America forever stays stronger than those who would harm us.
Chávez supports all efforts to hold federal agencies accountable for the money they spend, to ensure that tax dollars are wisely invested in programs that work to benefit taxpayers, opposed to the recent 12-cent gas hike and is in favor of changing the Fair Housing Act to better help veterans.
Kristin Gaspar (R) Chairwoman, San Diego San Diego County Board of Supervisors for District 3, first elected mayor of Encinitas, small business owner. Gaspar is the youngest woman ever elected to the board.
Quote: “Support for vets and military doesn’t stop when a soldier becomes a civilian — we have an obligation to support our veterans after their service and I will work to make sure those who suffer from PTSD have the treatment and counseling
they need and that our VA hospitals provide the best care possible.”
Issues : Gaspar supports the complete repeal of Obamacare with a health care system that puts patients first, drives down costs and eliminates the individual mandate.
She supports enforcement of federal immigration laws, including opposition to so-called “sanctuary” laws. Gaspar believes elected leaders have an obligation to respect the law, whether we agree with it or not.
She is a strong supporter of Armed Forces and advocates for more resources for active-duty soldiers and veterans.
Joshua Hancock (L) Former Marine, Eagle Scout, first-time political candidate
Quote: “Many politicians running for office in the U.S. today hold a position based on what is politically convenient at the time. I do not. As a Libertarian, I hold to a specific political, social, and economic ideology. You will know what I believe at the beginning, middle, and end of any political career you may entrust me with. I invite you to look through my statements on the issues to find out what those beliefs are.”
Issues: Hancock’s proposed solution to combat homelessness is to initiate church-run mental hospitals with federal funding and believes there is more than enough money to spend on homeless crisis if money is spent at home rather than abroad.
Hancock doesn’t support raising taxes to balance the federal budget, supports legal migration and endorses building a stronger border wall.
Hancock also supports protecting students with armed security or police officers at schools.
Diane Harkey (R) Chairwoman, California State Board of Equalization for District 4, served three terms in California’s 73rd State Assembly district, corporate finance and banking.
Quote: “The state of California is extremely misunderstood across the country. States across the nation don’t like us and I hope to put a better face on that — to let everyone know how important we are to the overall economy.”
Issues: Harkey is the first chair of the Board of Equalization as a Republican in the past 15 years. “That’s no small feat. I’m reasonable and I’m very committed to the causes I support but I’m not crazy and I know how to count votes.”
Harkey supports a repeal of California’s Senate Bill 1, which includes the most recent gas tax. Harkey has made several public appearances alongside former San Diego City councilman Carl DeMaio and gubernatorial candidate John Cox in support of DeMaio’s Gas Tax Repeal Initiative.
Sara Jacobs (D) Former junior-level government contractor at IEA Corporation.
Quote: “I never thought I would run for elected office, but this moment is too important to sit on the sidelines — we need new leaders to step up and serve. That’s why I’m running, and that’s why I’m asking for your support.”
Issues: Fully enforce environmental regulations that protect the ecosystems, natural resources and public health.
Favors universal health care and believes it’s a fundamental human right to have healthcare. Supports letting Americans buy into Medicare and Medicaid, and a strong public option, as first steps of a transition.
As for immigration, Jacobs is fighting for Dreamers and in passing comprehensive immigration reform.
On gun violence she wants to make it harder for domestic abusers to own firearms, to prevent assaults from turning into deadly and tragic events, including crafting federal legislation that would require anyone with a temporary restraining order to forfeit their firearm.
Paul Kerr (D) US Navy veteran, real estate investor
Quote: “American families are struggling. I’ve had to face many if not most of these same struggles. We have got to start putting working families first!”
Issues: Kerr proposes that the only way to address income and wealth inequality in this country is to make quality education from pre-kindergarten through college readily available to every child in America.
As a veteran, Kerr said far too many of our nation’s veterans are struggling and deserve better. He won’t stop until they get the services and support they’ve earned.
Kerr’s guiding principle is that quality health care is a basic human right, not a privilege for the wealthy few.
Kerr is “100 percent pro-choice” and believes that a woman should be able to make her own private health and reproductive decisions, in consultation with her doctor.
On preventing gun violence, Kerr said it’s time to stop talking and do something.
Mike Levin (D) Orange County environmental attorney, Center for Sustainable Energy board member, co-founder of Sustain OC.
Quote: (On gun violence) “It’s clear that nothing will change until we empower actual leaders to effect meaningful policy reforms in Washington. It’s past time to put people in charge who will do something to pre-empt future tragedies.”
Issues: Levin supports clean energy and has more than a decade of experience in the industry, helping to accelerate the transition toward more sustainable power generation and transportation options.
Stands for women’s health issues, including access to contraception and the right to make one’s own reproductive choices.
Levin supports expanding Brady background checks to all gun sales, including those made over the internet and at gun shows. Also believes that we must ban bump stocks, while acknowledging that doing so is not a substitute for other gun violence measures.
Council member Carl DeMaio and California gubernatorial candidate John Cox
Brian Maryott (R) San Juan Capistrano Mayor Pro Tem, former Chief of Staff in Massachusetts House of Representatives
Quote: “For too long now, we have been watching our politicians and our parties try to go it alone. Yet the problems of the day are not simple ones with easy solutions, and they affect us all. It is arrogant and foolish to think our toughest challenges can be resolved without collaboration among the major parties, and without a whole lot of input from the American people. We know the division of parties and politicians has become a profitable business being instigated by opinionated TV and radio personalities. More and more it seems people are taking sides. Enough already …”
Issues: On foreign policy, Maryott has said the United States must be the world leader, demonstrating “peace through strength,” adding the need to eliminate the defense sequester from the Budget Control Act and create a program to restart limited earmarks for critical defense projects only.
Maryott wants to maintain a comfortable and clean environment, pledges to continue pressing for reforms in health care coverage and supports expanding security through fencing and other enhancements to maintain safety on both sides of the border.
David Medway (R) Carlsbad physician, Medical Director of nonprofit community clinic in Vista
Quote: “I support women’s rights and the melting pot of cultures that make up California. I support lower taxes, less government and the best healthcare and education in the world for all Americans at reasonable prices.”
Issues: Medway maintains there are “no do-overs” when ill people cannot afford high quality health care; when nuclear material or oil spills on our beautiful beaches; when gun violence comes to our communities; when our borders are not protected, and our military is not adequately funded; when outbreaks of epidemic disease come to our shores; when political divisiveness turns neighbors against each other; when good jobs go away, taxes spiral out of control and the high cost of living diminishes our quality of life.
Jordan Mills (P&F) Professor, union organizer from Oceanside
Quote: On his campaign website, Mills said, “As long as I’ve lived in this district, I’ve known that the congressional representation in Washington had nothing to do with what I wanted done. I didn’t want to see my neighbors deported. I didn’t want my kids to go off to war. I didn’t want to see my health care and social security taken away by the One Percent while my employment became precarious, and while people were living on the street homeless.”
Issues: According to his Facebook account, Mills is an active member of the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) in North County, a group with an emphasis on fighting “imperialism, racism, police brutality and other injustices against poor, working and marginalized people.”
The Peace & Freedom party platform supports equality, guaranteed income, end to racism, universal healthcare, full rights for non-citizens and secure housing for everyone.
Craig Nordal (R) Real estate, HOA president, San Diego County Republican Party Central Committee
Quote: “I decided to jump into this election after hearing some of the first people who announced that either I could never support or who were not conservative enough. I decided the voters of the 49th Congressional District deserved to have a choice of a true social and economic conservative and someone with a proven record in business to bring common sense ideas and true traditional conservatism to this important congressional seat. I will lead and not follow, and I will stand to go on the offense to return common sense and the rule of law to our great country.”
Issues: Nordal holds a lifelong commitment to conservative principals and beliefs. As an Evangelical Christian, Nordal said he is a strong defender of religious liberty and will make issues of faith priority, as well as border security and immigration.
Nordal supports the Tea Party Patriots, building a border wall, defunding Planned Parenthood with criminal prosecutions and supports Second Amendment protections.
Robert Pendleton (NP) Ophthalmologist
Quote: “Donkeys and elephants have failed. It’s time for dogs to lead.”
Issues: Pendleton is a proponent of K9, a philosophy based upon the best characteristics of dogs — “Unconditional love, simple needs and readiness to defend.”
Pendleton said he is, “socially progressive, fiscally conservative, militarily prepared, altruistic, sovereign and united.”
According to his website, Pendleton hopes to unchain bipartisan gridlock through compromise and incremental change” and believes K9 principles will yield results such as “tolerance, security, health, happiness, peace and freedom.”
Mike Schmitt (R) Neuroaudiologist, sole proprietor practitioner
Quote: “I am a statesman and bold leader, not a politician. In an era of lack of trust with politics I am the most trustworthy candidate in the race. I am a man of integrity, honor, character and accomplishment with a unique skill set to look at our great country’s biggest problem; of not having a balanced budget.”
Issues: Whether it is health care, education, national security, Schmitt believes all sectors are degraded without a balanced budget.
Schmitt said he will pursue outcomes with data to support them, not just feelings, applying market-based solutions to country’s greatest challenges.
Schmitt opposes offshore drilling in California, is a strong pro-life advocate and proponent of constitutional right to bear arms.
Josh Schoonover (R) Small business owner, founder of Coastal Patent Law Group, P.C., patent attorney, engineer
Quote: “I plan to work tirelessly to make things happen in Congress on behalf of, and for the betterment of, the American People, especially those of the 49th Congressional District.”
Issues: A traditional conservative, Schoonover believes in individual freedom, personal accountability, low taxes, small government and a strong military. While officially a Republican, Schoonover has stated that he is independent-minded with respect to many issues, including education/federal student aid, same-sex marriage and cannabis regulation.
The North County attorney wants to introduce and promote a joint resolution for a Constitutional Amendment establishing congressional term limits and hopes to promote changes to Medicare and other similar laws.
Danielle St. John (G) Human rights advocate, anti-racist, “recovering Democrat” according to Twitter account
Quote: “One of my goals is to create a framework for a new market force that will be 100 percent driven by the populations they serve. The key element is operating under the same principles as the open software industry. I’ve named these entities open source co-operatives.
Put in normal terms, an open source co-operative is a business with the sole purpose of serving humanity. The network of these businesses will serve and represent the collective will of the people.”
Issues: St. John endorses a co-operative economy as an answer to fix both the progressive concern about the morality of capitalism and conservative concerns of inefficient and corrupted governments.
She sides with human rights over any institution or profit motive.