Friday, February 23, 2024

California Senate candidates grilled in second debate, asked if Biden and Trump are too old

With millions of ballots already mailed across the Golden State, California’s four leading U.S. Senate candidates spent their second televised debate at times on the defensive and were pressed on whether they thought the president Biden and former President Trump were too old to run for re-election.

Reps. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) as well as Republican candidate Steve Garvey all faced pointed questions from moderators: Porter was asked if she waited too long long to propose solutions to California’s housing crisis; Lee on his support for a $50 minimum wage and its viability for small businesses; and Garvey pressed on whether he would accept Trump’s endorsement, if it were offered to him.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) avoided a similarly pointed question, although he was asked whether California’s progressive criminal justice reforms had gone too far — an area in which his views have changed significantly since his debut as a badass. -Criminal Democrat in the California Senate.

Ballots for the primary were sent out last week. More than 22 million Californians can vote in the election to replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who died in September.

Recent polls have shown Schiff’s lead widening. A January poll by the UC Berkeley Institute of Government Studies, co-sponsored by the Times, found that 21 percent of likely voters supported Schiff, 17 percent chose Porter, 13 percent were for Garvey and 9 % chose Lee.

Garvey, who played first base for the Dodgers and San Diego Padres, aims to appeal to the small but significant number of registered Republicans throughout the Golden State, as well as “no party preference” voters and registered Democrats who believe their party has failed to solve homelessness, the high cost of living and other pressing problems.

“These are three career politicians who have failed the people,” Garvey said during a discussion about the state’s affordability crisis. With 60 years of combined experience between Lee, Porter and Schiff, he said, “they could have solved this problem.”

In the final weeks of the primary campaign, Porter and Schiff launched a barrage of multimillion-dollar television and radio ads. A new ad campaign from Schiff and his supporters focuses on Garvey, calling him “too conservative for California” and loyal to Trump — a strategy likely to boost the political newcomer’s profile among Republicans.

If Garvey consolidates Republican support, he could finish in the top two in the primary, which is all he needs to advance to the November general election. For Schiff, strengthening Garvey could help Porter emerge from the November election, easing his path to victory.

Porter’s campaign ads focus on her reputation in Congress as an irritant to Washington’s entrenched political hierarchy, portraying her as having an independent streak and not beholden to corporate interests. She mentioned Monday her work on the House Oversight Committee that questioned Wall Street CEOs and said she would bring that kind of in-depth investigation to the Senate.

All four candidates were asked if they thought Biden, 81, and Trump, 77, were too old to run for a second term. In short, everyone said no.

Biden’s age has become a major issue in the 2024 presidential race after a special counsel investigating whether Biden mishandled classified documents during his previous roles as vice president and senator claimed that the president could not remember the major milestones of his life.

“Experience counts, I have to say,” Lee, 77, said. “When it comes to term limits and age limits, we’re in a democracy – people have the right to vote for who they want to vote for.”

“We all have to, in our minds, with our own eyes and ears, make this decision,” Garvey, 75, said.

During the fast-paced, hour-long debate, hosted by San Francisco Nexstar affiliate KRON 4 and carried by news stations across the state, Schiff said Trump was unfit for office, regardless of regardless of his age, and accused Garvey of supporting the former president despite his failed attempt to oust the president. the results of the 2020 presidential election. Garvey said he voted for Trump in the 2016 and 2020 elections.

When asked if he had spoken to Trump since launching his campaign, or if he would accept his support, Garvey initially evaded the questions, but ultimately said that he and the former president do not had not spoken. He declined to say whether he would accept Trump’s support.

“These are personal choices,” Garvey said. “I answer to God, my wife, my family and the people of California. And I hope you will respect that I have personal choices.

Lee largely avoided the fray during the debate, but was asked to explain how his support for a $50 minimum wage — nearly seven times the national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour — would be economically viable for small business owners. Given California’s high cost of living, she said, the wage was necessary for families to make ends meet — but that meant it wouldn’t apply nationally.

“I have to focus on what California needs and the affordability factor,” she said.

Porter was asked why she waited until last week to release a plan to address California’s housing crisis, one of the biggest problems facing the state. She responded that she had worked on the issue throughout her legal career advocating for consumer rights and since joining Congress in 2018, and had direct experience.

“My own children wonder if they will be able to live in California after they graduate high school because of the high cost of living,” Porter said.

The moderators, KTLA 5’s Frank Buckley and Fox 40’s Nikki Laurenzo, asked Schiff if he thought progressive criminal justice reforms, including eliminating cash bail for nonviolent crimes and reducing certain criminal crimes into misdemeanors, had “gone too far”.

Schiff said there is “no question that we have a crime problem in California, particularly these burglaries,” but said the data does not suggest progressive criminal justice reforms are to blame. Instead, he said, the state needs to invest more in community policing.

“I have been focused on community safety since I became a prosecutor,” Schiff said. “At the time Mr. Garvey was playing baseball, I was prosecuting cases at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.”

A former federal prosecutor, Schiff campaigned for state Senate in 1996 on a tough-on-crime platform and told voters he supported the three-strikes law and the state’s death penalty.

Schiff told the Times last week that while “there was certainly a time when I supported the death penalty for those who killed cops and those who killed children,” he no longer supports capital punishment.

After the debate, Lee, who served in the California Legislature at the same time as Schiff, said their contrasting views on the subject offered voters a clear choice. She recalls sponsoring legislation that would have reformed the state’s “three strikes” law, which Schiff voted against.

“The difference between us is that I looked at criminal justice reform and public safety in a holistic way and that harsher sentences do not necessarily mean reduced crime,” she said.

Note: The content and images used in this article is rewritten and sourced from



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