Allegations of intimidation and retaliation mar Congressional race

February 16, 2016
Helene Schneider

Helene Schneider


With the June primary less then four months away, entrenched Democratic party leaders are backing Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal for the 24th District congressional seat while supporters of his chief Democratic rival, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, allege political intimidation.

Shortly after Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) announced last spring that she would not be running for reelection, Capps and House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi endorsed Carbajal. Since then, party insiders have pushed to get Capps’ handpicked candidate the party endorsement.

On the other side, Schneider’s campaign has charged democratic leaders with political intimidation and retribution. Specifically that they were pressuring delegates to vote for Carbajal.

“The deeper I get into my Congressional campaign, the more clear it becomes that the system is rigged, meant to protect the politically-connected, the powerful or their hand-picked successors,” Schneider said in a statement released shortly before Democratic delegates voted on the party endorsement.

Late last month, 83 percent of the 24th District’s Democratic Party delegates voted to give Carbajal the party endorsement. The district’s vote is likely to secure Carbajal the state Democratic Party endorsement which allows him to use the state Democratic Party’s logos on mailers as well as other campaign perks.

Supervisor Salud Carbajal

Supervisor Salud Carbajal

And while party insiders are backing Carbajal, polls show the voting public favor Schneider.

Last July, Schneider’s campaign conducted a poll of 350 voters that showed Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian in the lead with 24 percent, 23 percent for Schneider, 15 percent for Carbajal, 14 percent for Justin Fareed and 2 percent for William Ostrander. The survey, conducted by Lake Research Partners, had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.2 percent.

In mid January, Achadjian’s campaign released a poll conducted by Moore Information that also placed Achadjian in first place. After Moore Information provided only the name, occupation and political party of the candidates, 19 percent of respondents said they would vote for Achadjian and 12 percent for each Schneider and Carbajal.

After respondents “learned more about” Achadjian from Moore Information, 29 percent said they would vote for Achadjian, 12 percent selected Schneider; 11 percent picked Carbajal; 4 percent chose Fareed and 3 percent picked Ostrander. The survey of 405 voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.

The 24th Congressional District consists of all of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties and part of Ventura County. Voter registration is close to an even split between Democrats and Republicans, with Democrats at 37 percent, Republicans at 34 percent and decline to state at 23 percent.

Candidates include Republicans Achadjian, Fareed and Matt Kokkonen; Democrats Schneider, Carbajal, Ostrander and Jeff Oshins; and independents Steve Isakson and John Uebersax.

The primary election for the congressional race is set for June 7.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Take away the money from elections and cut back the staff and perks of office and we will get people that care and want to make a difference for the greater good serving in government.

“The deeper I get into my Congressional campaign, the more clear it becomes that the system is rigged, meant to protect the politically-connected, the powerful or their hand-picked successors,”

You just now are figuring this out? Man, will you be a detriment to your constituents if you truly are that dim. I mean, one only has to look at our sitting, 2-term president to see how rigged the system is; talk about being led by the hand to the seat of power…

We need a Congressman that is NOT from Santa Barbara! They see not value in a country song, pickup truck or starting from the bottom.

You all, including Karen, appear surprised that partisan politics is alive and well in our local Congressional race. Of course getting the endorsement of one’s party is sought after as it opens the doors to “acceptance” as the blessed candidate that subscribes to that party’s political beliefs. This leads to other endorsements and donations and is the way partisan politics has always worked.

The problem is that both political parties today are far removed from what the voters want – and the party machines do not care. This is oligarchy, folks, and it is alive and well at every level of government in both parties. Towing the party line means being anointed by corporate approval and backed by corporate dollars.

The only way to make a change is to actually research the candidates, not believing what the candidates PR spins for your consumption and voting for change. If you don’t do your job as an American and don’t take your right to vote seriously as a privilege granted to maintain your freedom, then you are part of the problem, not the solution.