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Local News

Francisco to Challenge Capps for Congressional Seat

Dale Francisco

Santa Barbara City Councilman Dale Francisco confirmed this week that he will challenge Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara for the 24th District Congressional seat in 2014.

Francisco, a Republican who has served on the City Council since 2007, filed candidacy documents with the Federal Election Commission in early November, but hasn’t made a public announcement yet.

He said the job is tough because the district is pretty evenly split now between registered Republicans and Democrats, but that Capps has done a bad job representing the community.

Francisco called her a party-line voter and said, “I think people are getting tired of that.

He criticized President Barack Obama’s administration, using the health-care reform rollout as one example, and added that he’s “not enamored” of the Republican Party leadership either. He said he would work to represent the district, not one party’s agenda, if elected.

The 24th District includes all of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties and western Ventura County, including the city of Ventura. Prior to redistricting, the local district snaked along the coast and was heavily Democratic.

Capps has served as Congresswoman for the area since 1998, when she took over following the death of her husband, Walter Capps.

Francisco said he won’t underestimate the difficulty in challenging an incumbent, especially such a well-funded one. Capps had $816,000 in campaign cash on hand as of the Sept. 30 reporting date, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Francisco is joining several other challengers for June’s open primary race. The top two vote-getters, regardless of political party, will move forward to the November 2014 election.

Santa Maria bank manager Paul Coyne, a self-described fiscally conservative Democrat, joined the race at the beginning of the year.

Justin Fareed of Montecito, a Republican, filed papers just before Francisco, and has previously worked for GOP Congressman Ed Whitfield of Kentucky as a legislative aide.

Fareed, 25, is a recent graduate from UCLA.

Republican Chris Mitchum, a former actor who ran against Capps in 2012, is reportedly planning to enter the race as well.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli 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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