Republican candidate nixed from Cal Poly debate

January 30, 2016
Matt Kokkonen

Matt Kokkonen

OPINION by MATT KOKKONEN

Cal Poly has denied a declared Republican Congressional Candidate participation at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Congressional debate on Feb. 4. Political science professor Michael Latner is refusing to allow me, Republican Matt Kokkonen, to participate in the Congressional candidate debate forum at Cal Poly.

I am long time political activist, the Republican nominee for Congress against Lois Capps in the 2008 general election and a current and seven time elected member of the San Luis Obispo Republican Central Committee.

Dr.  Latner said I was not qualified to participate in the debate because I had not requested papers from the San Luis Obispo County Clerk Recorder to officially file for candidacy. I declared my candidacy already in Sept. 2015 and in fact presented Cal Poly president Jeffery Armstrong campaign materials in person at a public meeting of San Luis Obispo Business and Property Owners’ Association.

I pointed out to Dr. Latner that Congressional candidates file directly with the Federal Elections Commission, not with the local county, and that he filed with the FEC. One reason for this is that Congressional districts often cover several counties. The county does not provide papers to be filed for federal office.

It is most surprising to realize that Cal Poly’s political science professor is so ignorant of the elemental mechanics of filing for Congress. It is also disappointing to hear him continue to claim he received this information from the county office.

FEC requires filing to be done electronically, unless the candidate anticipates spending or raising under $50,000 in a calendar year. Even then, the paper filing is done directly with the FEC.

I also referred to Cal Poly’s website advertising the event which specifically states “Individuals who have recently requested paperwork to file for candidacy have also been invited to participate.” This is pure nonsense, but if it were true, I would qualify.

After being asked with which political party he is registered, Latner finally and dismissively responded, “the Pirate Party.”

In my opinion, Cal Poly’s refusal to admit my participation in the Congressional debate clearly amounts to discrimination against a Republican Congressional candidate.

It is shocking and regrettable that as public university, Cal Poly is permitting such bigotry. I expected the university to promote the free exchange of ideas, exposure of voters to all candidates with their various political positions and simply upholding the freedom of expression at a public institution of higher learning, not arbitrary discrimination against a Republican.

The debate is scheduled for Feb. 4 and I am still awaiting a reply.

Matt Kokkonen is a legal immigrant and a candidate for the U.S. Congress
California’s 24th District.


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29 Comments

  1. don the beachcomber says:

    For more on corruption in SLO County, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhpTHqEozLI

    (-2) 6 Total Votes - 2 up - 4 down
    • paragon says:

      Can you stop spamming practically every story with the same DebbiePeterson4Supervisor youtube link? Yes, we get it, Adam Hill is a buffoon. Now at least contribute something worthwhile to the discussion.

      (8) 8 Total Votes - 8 up - 0 down
  2. topper01 says:

    …..and that’s how USA is being dumb-ed down. A Poly Sci professor who does not know how politics actually work instructing/indoctrinating young skulls full of mush.

    (13) 25 Total Votes - 19 up - 6 down
    • SpaceCow says:

      How does politics actually work topper? You have some insight? Then maybe you can help out Matt, seems he had not requested papers for candidacy from the County, which state law requires. You can be his campaign manager.

      (-7) 17 Total Votes - 5 up - 12 down
    • October says:

      I can see how it can be confusing. According to California Elections Code:

      8101. All forms required for nomination and election to all
      congressional, state, county, and political party county central
      committee offices shall be furnished only by the county elections
      official. At the time of issuance of those forms the county elections
      official shall type in the forms the name of the candidate and the
      office for which he or she is a candidate, shall imprint a stamp
      which reads “Official Filing Form,” and shall affix his or her
      signature. The forms shall be distributed without charge to all
      candidates applying for them.

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  3. almostgone says:

    What else could we expect from Cal Poly, certainly not the high road !

    (13) 25 Total Votes - 19 up - 6 down
  4. jonhartz says:

    Check out this Latner’s FB page: the man has an ego the size of Mount Bishop..https://www.facebook.com/mlatner?fref=ts

    (8) 12 Total Votes - 10 up - 2 down
    • kettle says:

      And is also FB friends with Adam Hill, political operative Jay Salter, Tom Fulks, Tonya Strickland, Bob Cuddy, Jim Patterson and Bruce Gibson.

      But that is just a coincidence, right?

      (20) 26 Total Votes - 23 up - 3 down
  5. Bert says:

    Yawn, waaah, etc. Remember, there three sides to every story.

    (-11) 35 Total Votes - 12 up - 23 down
  6. achillesheal says:

    Must have diversity, as long as everyone thinks alike.

    (19) 21 Total Votes - 20 up - 1 down

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