Tuesday, November 24 , 2015, 4:18 pm | Partly Cloudy 66º

Santa Maria Democrat and Businessman Plans Challenge to Lois Capps in 2014 Election

Citing nation's economic woes, banker Paul Coyne will run as fiscal conservative for 24th District nomination

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff |

Paul Coyne, who describes himself as a fiscally conservative Democrat, plans to challenge Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, for her 24th District seat in Congress in 2014. (Coyne campaign photo)
Paul Coyne, who describes himself as a fiscally conservative Democrat, plans to challenge Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, for her 24th District seat in Congress in 2014. (Coyne campaign photo)

A Santa Maria resident and self-described “fiscally conservative Democrat” is set to challenge long-serving Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, for her 24th District seat in the 2014 election.

Political newcomer Paul Coyne said a love for the Central Coast community where he grew up and a need for positive change compelled him to file to run for Congress.

The deluge of negative television campaign ads funded last fall by supporters of Capps and her Republican opponent, Abel Maldonado, “put me over,” Coyne told Noozhawk.

“I was very disappointed,” said the 49-year-old Union Bank manager.

Coyne, who grew up in Goleta in what he says was “a liberal household,” said he disagrees with the 75-year-old Capps hanging onto the seat she has occupied for 15 years, making decisions based on her Democratic Party affiliation rather than the best solutions.

He said he is a proud member of the middle class, with more than 30 years of business and banking experience, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from UC Santa Barbara.

“Honestly, I think of it as a strength and not a negative,” Coyne said of never holding a public office. “I’ve always thought about going into public service. I tend to be a solution-oriented person.”

Coyne, who is Catholic and pro-life on abortion, said he hopes to gather votes as a “center candidate” for the district, which includes Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, and a portion of western Ventura County.

He outlines his platform and 60-day action agenda on his campaign website, which went live this month. Addressing the federal deficit, balancing the budget and establishing term limits are near the top of the list.

Coyne has personally pledged that he would serve no more than four terms — eight years — in the House of Representatives if elected next year.

In a statement last week, Capps would not comment on the election that is still a year off.

“It’s an honor to represent the Central Coast for another term in Congress,” she said. “Right now I am focused on representing my constituents’ interests and working across the aisle to get things done in Washington. Our country faces a number of challenges, from creating jobs to reducing the deficit to fixing our broken immigration system, and we’ll only be able to address these challenges by putting aside politics and working together.”

Coyne said that while he has always supported Capps, he believes he is the positive, homegrown change residents are seeking.

“Right now we’re getting the word out,” he said. “I think our financial stability is out of whack right now. I know a lot about business. The way we’re spending before money comes in is going to stop.”

Coyne, who has three children ages 17, 15 and 5, intends to make the campaign his full-time job come April 1. At the top of his to-do list is opening an office in Santa Maria, something Capps doesn’t have. The congresswoman plans to open one in the city later this week.

“I’m hopeful for local support,” he said. “This is my passion. We need some more energy. The only way to implement change is to change the representation.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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» on 02.18.13 @ 02:34 AM

A stealth candidate from the North county…..

» on 02.18.13 @ 11:25 AM

This just doesn’t seem like a smart move.

With the jungle primaries, how can he win? Most Democrats (I’ll be honest, I probably will myself) will still break for Capps, I’ll eat my hat if they’d let someone with a “National Debt Counter” represent them in then general. I’ll be damned if he’s able to get any crossover votes from the GOP, too, so where does he go?

You can’t win a jungle primary counting on support of independents. We saw that quite a bit during these last elections, looks like we’ll see it again.

One thing I will give him, his website looks a hell of a lot nicer that Lois’. That being said, Abel’s looked pretty too, and we can all see how that worked out for him.

» on 02.18.13 @ 12:11 PM

Well there is one thing for certain, we know about Lois Capp’s character when she guaranteed that she would not run for more than two terms and took $ donations based on her “promise.”

How do you trust someone that displays such a lack of character? Unfortunately, the majority in this district continue to vote for her, lies and all.

» on 02.18.13 @ 12:37 PM

To be fair, a lot of people on both sides of the aisle took money for that promise, and broke it.

» on 02.18.13 @ 12:42 PM

A guy with a Republican agenda running as a Democrat?  Why?

» on 02.18.13 @ 12:49 PM

Maybe he didn’t get the memo?

Blue-dog Democrats are really disliked by the new progressives in the party, who do hold a decent amount of power. I just don’t see how he can survive the jungle primary.

» on 02.18.13 @ 01:27 PM

More power to him.  We need a replacement for Capps.  She’s just not up to the job.

» on 02.18.13 @ 05:18 PM

BuleriaChk, thanks for reminding us of what insufferable intellectual narcissist south coast liberals are. I mean really those backward hicks up there can’t possibly be real liberal progressives, right?

The only thing this proves is that there are some blue dog democrats still remaining in the party. I agree with Nicholas though, this guy will be eviscerated by demagoguery and mud. The progressive left can’t operate in a competitive environment (hell they don’t even believe in competition), so they need to eliminate opposition by any other means necessary.

They have their party puppet and she does what ever they tell her, why allow a independent thinker upset the apple cart?

» on 02.19.13 @ 12:34 AM

I just went to Mr. Coyne’s and read his resume and came away with some troubling questions. He attended West Point for three years but received his BA from UCSB? (What happened at West Point?) He claims to be a “graduate” of West Point in air-assault? (What does this mean and why is he prevaricating?) He only served in the army reserve for two years after three years of tax-payer funded education at a military academy? (Is this representative of his fiscally conservative bona fides?) He was a PhD student at UCSB for four years but did not attain his PhD? (He seems to have trouble completing things.) He claims to have 30 years of business and banking experience (dating back to 1983 when he was at West Point? Is this possible?) but this includes twenty years of grocery store work? He lists three children but no other relations?

I’m afraid he is not quite ready for prime time.

» on 02.19.13 @ 01:12 AM

Mesa Accountant,
Good catch!
No one graduates from West Point in 3 years, even with a bogus BS degree in “air assault.”
And if he did indeed graduate from WP, he would have had to serve on active duty, not Reserves.

» on 02.19.13 @ 11:19 AM

Slow news day.

The News-Press article is especially amusing on this where this debut candidate offers no comment and was not available to the reporter, so all that space is filled up with comments by Democratic supporters of Lois Capps.


» on 02.19.13 @ 11:26 AM

I just want to know: Was he a school nurse?

» on 02.19.13 @ 01:57 PM

Ahhh. PGL has uncovered the secret.
School nurse is THE qualifying experience for our Congressional District.

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