Camarillo, Calif., Sept. 29, 2014 – CSU Channel Islands (CI) will host the first public debate between the candidates for California’s 26th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on Sunday, Oct. 12, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Grand Salon. Pre-registration is encouraged at: https://csuci.wufoo.com/forms/candidate-forum-for-congressional-district-26/.
Sponsored jointly by the League of Women Voters of Ventura County, the Ventura County Star and CI, the public forum offers voters the opportunity to hear from Democratic incumbent Julia Brownley and Republican challenger Jeff Gorell in one of the nation’s most closely watched and hotly contested congressional races.
The event is designed to encourage public participation, with debate topics driven by the audience. Candidates will make opening and closing remarks and answer questions submitted in writing by audience members.
“It will be their only opportunity to see the candidates meet face to face, and in modern campaigns that are driven by slick advertising and mailers that are largely hysterical and hyberbolic, this will be an opportunity to get a measure of the candidates in an authentic setting,” said Ventura County Star State Bureau Chief Timm Herdt, the debate’s moderator.
Brownley (D-WestlakeVillage) won the seat in 2012 with 52.7 percent of the votes. With fewer Democratic voters predicted to head to the polls for the Nov. 4 midterm election, the race between Brownley and Gorell, a Republican assemblyman from Camarillo, is shaping up to be highly competitive.
“This will be a low turnout election as there is no presidential race, the governor’s race is not competitive, and there are no ballot propositions that will drive people to the polls,” said Professor Scott Frisch, Chair of CI’s Political Science program. “In close elections like this, a debate performance can make or break a candidate, particularly if one candidate commits a gaffe or appears not up to the task.”
In addition to helping voters learn more about the candidates, the on-campus debate presents an opportunity for CI students – many of whom will be voting for the first time in this election – to participate in the political process. Student government volunteers are working with the League of Women Voters to register voters on campus and will help gather questions from the audience during the debate.
“The League of Women Voters of Ventura County is very pleased to be a co-sponsor of the upcoming forum when voters will learn first-hand about the candidates’ views on a number of important issues,” said League Co-President Barbara Doyle. “The League’s core mission is to educate voters so that each of us can make an informed decision before voting. CI, the only public university in Ventura County, is the ideal venue for this forum, as its students will become our future leaders. It is vitally important for them, and for all voters, to see just how important it is to study the issues and then take action by voting.”
Pre-registration is encouraged at https://csuci.wufoo.com/forms/candidate-forum-for-congressional-district-26/. Parking is complimentary. Once on campus, follow signs to the designated lot.