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VIDEO: District 2 congressional debate

Six Democrats and one Republican seeking to represent the North Coast in Congress squared off Wednesday night in a forum sponsored by California North Coast Media.

The forum, filmed at Pixel Corps Studios in Petaluma, featured candidates for the 2nd Congressional District, which will be left open by the retirement of Rep. Lynn Woolsey.

Six Democrats participated in the debate: Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams, Mendocino physician William Courtney, Assemblyman Jared Huffman of San Rafael, San Rafael businesswoman Stacey Lawson, Petaluma City Councilwoman Tiffany Renee, and Marin activist Norman Solomon. One Republican, Tiburon securities broker Dan Roberts, also participated.

Andy Caffrey, a member of the Green Party, asked to participate but the request came too late for him to be included in the forum, organizers said. Caffrey was allowed to make an opening statement at the beginning of the forum.

Watch the debate below. Who do you think would make the best representative?

11 Responses to “VIDEO: District 2 congressional debate”

  1. Burton’s Ghost looms as 2nd CD Candidates Rush to the Left

    There is a political saying that “If you can’t work out what is politically expedient, you may as well do what you feel is right.” My 2nd CD candidacy rests my conviction that Republican-leaning voters deserve a choice in practically all circumstances, and that without such a choice our potential voters will have no leverage and be taken for granted. However, just about every time I turn around, I am faced with questions about the strategic wisdom of my becoming the second Republican in this race. Here I examine two important evaluations of this question by observers of the Dan Roberts 2nd CD campaign. I discuss a scenario mentioned by both of my cited Roberts campaign analysts, which may be the only faintly plausible way a Republican congressman can be elected from the 2nd CD in 2012.

    Dan Roberts’ website (www.danrobertsforcongress.com) has posted the entire text of “The GOP versus Phil Burton’s Ghost” (by Richard Rapaport in an August 25, 2011 Mill Valley Patch blog). Here Rapaport interviews Roberts about his intended campaign strategy in his 2nd CD race for Congress. Rapaport discusses one possible impact of having two Republican candidates in the 2nd CD contest: “If well-organized Republican are able to correctly apportion their own votes and financing of two parallel Republican campaigns, it might be possible for them to win the top two positions over four [now eight] scrapping Democrats who will dilute their vote.”

    Rapaport updates the 2nd CD race in “Candidates Race to the Left at Debate” (October 13, 2011 Mill Valley Patch blog). Here, Rapaport compares Roberts with Rick Santorum “in enforcing ideological purity but [being] incapable of putting together what would be a winning position.”

    This seems to be quite a shift from how Dan Roberts’ 2nd CD strategy is described by Rapaport on August 25, 2011 in Burton’s Ghost: “Roberts at least felt that he gained an understanding that in the Bay Area being affiliated with a major political party is a necessary evil and holding some progressive ideals an electoral necessity.”

    In Candidates Race to the Left, Rapaport tells how Roberts tries to resolve this seeming conflict: “Tiburon stockbroker Dan Roberts seemed intent on letting his opponents know that he knew the difference between local, statewide and national political responsibilities, refreshingly ducking questions unless they had to do with the actual business of a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.”

    Just before Dan Roberts got through the October 5, 2012 Petaluma debate by “refreshingly ducking questions,” a preview by Hank Sims (“A Republican Steps Forth!” in October 3, 2011 Lost Coast Outpost) examined strategic options available to the GOP in the 2nd CD. Here Sims sets forth a “best case scenario” (wherein a Republican still can’t be elected), which elicits this alternative 2nd CD scenario, which could elect a Republican congressman:

    About the only way the Republican would end up better-off in this district under the new system would be if six or eight Democrats ran and split up the Democratic and left-leaning unaffiliated voters amongst them, while only two Republi-cans ran. In theory, you could end up in a situation where Republican One (with, say, 20% of the vote) and Republican Two (with, say, 15% of the vote) were the two top vote-getters – with Dems One though Six (or eight, or whatever) all getting 14% or less each. In that kind of scenario, you’d actually have a situation where the two Republican candidates would be the only two choices in the general election, despite 65% of the voters voting for one of the Democrats in the primary. (TRA reply to Hank Sims)

    It is not too difficult imagining a total 36% GOP vote in the 2nd CD, since losing Republican nominee for Governor Meg Whitman received 32.2% of the 2010 major party vote in this territory. What is crucial is how the 65% aggregate vote for the Democratic candidates (plus the strongest of the No Party Preference candidates) is split. Here is a quotation (with the names of candidates re-ordered to reflect my best guess as to their likely strength) from “A flood of candidates on June ballot” (March 16, 2012 Press Democrat):
    Where this new system is most likely to be tested is in the 2nd Congressional District, which runs from the Golden Gate Bridge along the coast to the Oregon border. The race, which includes parts of Rep. Lynn Woolsey’s district as well as Rep. Mike Thompson’s district before reapportionment, features these candidates:

    1. Assemblyman Jared Huffman
    2. Norman Solomon of Marin County
    3. San Rafael businesswoman Stacey Lawson
    4. Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams
    5. Petaluma City Councilwoman Tiffany Renee

    6. Andy Caffrey of Humboldt County
    7. William Courtney of Mendocino County
    8. Brooke Clarke of Ukiah
    9. Larry Fritzlan of Mill Valley

    I have argued that a vigorous (but respectful) competition between Republicans is an essential element of the best prospect for electing a GOP candidate in the 2nd CD. Negative campaigning drives down turnout, but a contest where two primary candidates have strong positive support (Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008) boosts turnout and keeps voters from crossing over to the other party’s primary (in the states where this is permitted). So let’s assume a very close competition between the two 2nd CD GOP candidates. To keep this illustration simple, let’s assume that 100,000 votes are cast in the 2nd CD, of which 64,000 are cast for the above listed candidates and 18,250 are cast for Republican Dan Roberts and 17,750 for Republican Mike Halliwell. Based on congressional primary voting in the North Bay which I am familiar with, the nine non-Republicans might get percentages of the 64,000 aggregate Democrat-leaning vote like this:
    1. Assemblyman Jared Huffman 27.6% = 17,664

    2. Norman Solomon of Marin County 21.9% = 14,016

    3. San Rafael businesswoman Stacey Lawson 14.0% = 8820

    4. Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams 9.4% = 6016

    5. Petaluma City Councilwoman Tiffany Renee 8.9% = 5696

    6. Andy Caffrey of Humboldt County 7.4% = 4736

    7. William Courtney of Mendocino County 4.9% = 3136

    8. Brooke Clarke of Ukiah 3.3% = 2112

    9. Larry Fritzlan of Mill Valley 2.6% = 1664

    The Republican part (36%) of this scenario is speculative, but the split of the Democrat-leaning 64% is firmly rooted in reality. My wife’s parents had a home in Kentfield (in Marin County near the Muir Woods where we spent our honeymoon), which they had to sell in 1978 just before property tax relief arrived in the form of Proposition 13. When my wife Betty was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer in August of 1991, my research soon turned up the fact that Marin County had the highest rate of breast cancer in the world, among women below normal retirement age (but these patients had a good survival rate). I figured out that the very high education level in Marin County produced a large amount of two-professional couples (who can afford the expensive housing) and the delay or elimination of child bearing in such couples (which research shows increases breast cancer) not only explained the high breast cancer rate, this well educated electorate also seemed likely to facilitate good therapy, through a strong local breast cancer research effort.

    As the 1992 election year moved forward, I took hope from the fact that the only physician in the State Legislature was running for Congress in Marin County. This physician, Dr. Bill Filante, won the Republican primary and was favored in the general election, until he was stricken by brain cancer, and the Democrat primary winner refused to debate his surrogates. I used to have a paper copy of the 1992 Statement of the Vote, so I knew what I’d find when I checked the Secretary of State’s website, to verify the Marin County June 1992 Democratic Party 6th CD primary returns below:

    1. Dennis Rice 27.6% = 11, 743
    2. Lynn Woolsey 21.9% = 9338
    3. Bennett Johnston 14.0% = 5971
    4. David Strand 9.4% = 3989
    5. Eric Koenigshofer 8.9% = 3780

    6. Ann Nevenic 7.4% = 3158
    7. Joe Nation 4.9% = 2083
    8. William Morrison 3.3% = 1405
    9. Howell Hurst 2.6% = 1123

    Lynn Woolsey beat Dennis Rice by 8505 votes in Sonoma County to win this nine-way race, but I doubt Tiffany Renee can follow a similar path to victory, because of the two other strong woman Democrats running in 2012.

    With the help of the Marin County Department of Public Health SEER Data Base (which shows the long term results of standard breast cancer treatment), I devised an extension of chemotherapy (at a reduced intensity) to many years (instead of the standard six months) which (with tripling the duration of still continuing hormonal therapy), implemented a successful strategy based on the fact that few women die of breast cancer within the first year after cessation of post-operative therapy (so why stop?).

  2. @ Marx was Right

    Regarding your comment: “For good measure they threw in a republican just to make it fair.”

    CNCM simply invited all the declared candidates we were aware of to participate in the forum. There happens to be only one declared Republican party candidate at this time for District 2, 6 declared Democratic party candidates, and another who is a founding member of the Green Party.

    If you watch the debate, you will indeed see much similarity among the Democrats, but there are some differences not only on aspects of some positions, but also in style, substance, and approach. And yes, the addition of Dan Roberts did at least inject some larger contrasts – though at times he and William Courtney appeared to share some views.

    If more Republicans declare, we would be happy to invite them to another forum. So far, it’s still pretty early and this was actually the very first forum to include as comprehensive a field of candidates.

    Thanks for watching and for participating in the process by stating your views.

  3. Marx was Right says:

    Why do the progressives waste time with a “debate?” They are all cut from the same cloth. In this one party race with all candidates parroting the same views, it is a total front to make the voters think there will be a real election.

    For good measure they threw in a republican just to make it fair. The real problem is elections in this one party county and state are no more fair than in Cuba or some other left wing dictatorship.

    In Sonoma County the voters do not elect candidates they elect a party platform with a left agenda.

  4. @ Dan Roberts

    Thank you again Dan for participating. I think your inclusion made for a more interesting discussion and provided some good contrasts.

    I’m not sure what happened regarding the lower thirds denoting a party – they were indeed supposed to and we’ll ensure next time that point is more clear.

    Regardless, I think it was pretty clear by watching the forum that you are not a Democrat, and I think voters will understand by visiting your web site and from the press releases and other information that we have provided that you are right now the only declared Republican in the race.

    So thanks again for coming Dan – really glad you helped make the program more comprehensive and informative by your inclusion.

  5. dan roberts says:

    to date i am the only constitutional conservative in this race. my answers should have conveyed the thought that government often does not have solutions for our problems, people have solutions. my comment that the administration does not have a clue about real job creation should have given the viewers a clue that solutions are with the private sector. government can only get out of our way: cut corporate taxes,accelerate depreciation and deductable expenses. allow the capital to be deployed for economic recovery and job creation rather than remain idle or offshore. another point, the producers promised that the party affiliation would be displayed on screen but that did not happen. too bad. look to my web site for military service and business background. finally, realize that this is the first of a long process during which we hope that a full fleshing out of positions will be explored.

  6. Social Dis-Ease says:

    Wow, if you squint it almost looks like real Democracy.

  7. We’re pleased to announce the video is now available for viewing at http://www.cncm.us


  8. Social Dis-Ease says:

    THE framework in which we should judge our public servants is; on board with this Agenda 21 crap-or not, period.
    ‘Till we do it’ll be more of the same.
    If they come up dumb, look for another candidate.

  9. Originalist says:

    Being a supervisor or on the city council or even a state legislator is basicly having no experience to be a representative in Congress! Woolsey proved that!

    What financial experience in a business have they had? How many people have they hired? What do they know of the military and where did they serve? If a person refused to defend this nation when it was threatened he/she shouldnt be in Congress!

    While we know little of the candidates, I dont see anyone truly qualified among the group today! This is no time for a popularity contest. Marin has been so anti business for decades, I dont want that sentiment in Congress!

  10. Greg Karraker says:

    Five Democrats against one Republican is blatantly unfair. A competent conservative can easily outthink seven progressives.

  11. Resume? says:

    I attended a “debate” last night with these candidates. As reported in this paper, they don’t disagree on major issues.

    So what are their credentials and background?

    What is their eduacational background?
    Who has held public office?
    Who has served in the military?
    What has been their political affiliations or party registration?
    What does their resume look like?
    Do they have arrest records?
    Do they have children?