Three days before a showdown debate, Republican congressional candidate Andy Caldwell previewed his strategy with a series of blistering attacks against Democratic Rep. Salud Carbajal, painting him as an ineffective, partisan puppet of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
"Nancy Pelosi's district is getting two votes -- we're getting none," said Caldwell, who represents North County business and oil interests before the Board of Supervisors as the longtime director of the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business.
In an interview with Newsmakers, Caldwell's characteristically blunt and biting comments offered a preview of how he may be expected to take on Carbajal at 4 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 17), when the two are scheduled to meet for their one and only debate, sponsored by KEYT. The confrontation between the candidates in the 24th Congressional District will air live on the NOW channel (Cox Cable 13 or over-the-air 3.2) and also be re-broadcast later.
In our interview, Andy sought to undercut Salud's frequent claims of bipartisanship by highlighting his loyalty to the Speaker in voting; he also assailed the incumbent as ineffective in passing major legislation and scoffed at him for taking personal credit for bringing federal funds to the district, saying the various monies merely represent Santa Barbara County's share of huge congressional spending legislation.
Among other issues, Caldwell criticized the claim, advanced by Carbajal and many others, that California's current era of extraordinary wildfires is a result of climate change; instead, he said, the size and violence of fires in recent years may be traced to "forest mismanagemen,t" enabled over decades by liberal environmental policies.
Caldwell told us that he believes the Republicans will reclaim the House in the election. and said Carbajal is taking voters, and his re-election, for granted,
"He's not showing up for the interview," he said of Salud. "He thinks he's got it made, the job is his to keep."
Carbajal is scheduled to be on Newsmakers TV tomorrow (Thursday Oct. 15) and we'll post our interview with him shortly after.