Rep. Salud Carbajal, left, faces a challenge from Dr. Brad Allen to represent District 24 in Congress.
Rep. Salud Carbajal, left, faces a challenge from Dr. Brad Allen to represent District 24 in Congress. (Courtesy photos)

Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, faces another conservative challenger in his bid to seek a fourth term in Congress to represent District 24.

Carbajal, elected in 2016, has knocked off Justin Fareed twice and then Andy Caldwell, and now faces candidate Brad Allen, a pediatric heart surgeon. 

The numbers are on Carbajal’s side. In the June primary, he won about 65% of the vote and about 57,000 individual votes. He more than doubled Allen, a Republican, who won about 27.5% of the vote and 21,100 individual votes.

The candidates battle at a time of rising inflation, national debates over immigration, an opioid crisis, and controversies over abortion rights and foreign policy. 

The election is Tuesday.

Salud Carbajal

Carbajal said it has been his “privilege and pleasure” to represent the Central Coast.

“My No. 1 priority in Congress is lowering the cost of living for every individual living on the Central Coast,” Carbajal said.

If re-elected, he said he wants to “continue to build on the policies that we’ve already passed to expand affordable housing, lower your health care, child care and energy costs, and make the Central Coast a place that everyone can afford to call home.”

In response to questions from Noozhawk, Carbajal said he wants Congress to play a role in “tackling the scourge of synthetic drugs like fentanyl that are killing thousands of Americans every single year.”

He said he has voted for legislation to increase efforts to cooperate with nations where those drugs originate to ensure their law enforcement has the tools it needs to detect and crack down on smuggling of the deadly drugs.

“I have backed investments in the technologies we need at our border and ports of entry to detect trafficking of this drug, as well as improved screening of our mail and packages,” Carbajal said. “And I have voted to expand funding through our Department of Health and Human Services and other departments to help provide communities the resources they need to help Americans struggling with substance abuse, prevent accidental overdoses and finally end the opioid abuse epidemic.”

Carbajal said he also wants to continue to work on immigration reform. He came to the United States from Mexico with his parents when he was 5 years old, when the immigration system still worked, he said. 

He cited the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which established a program to provide agricultural workers the legal status they need to live and work in this country without fear of deportation.

“As a son of a farmworker, I’m proud of my role in helping this bill pass the House this Congress, not just for the important reforms it would bring, but also to prove that immigration reform on a bipartisan basis is not as out of reach as some would have you believe,” Carbajal said.

He said lawmakers must approach immigration reform by abolishing “xenophobic, racist and misguided policies that dehumanize those who come to this nation only seeking safety and a better life.”

Carbajal also supports Proposition 1 on the California ballot, which would affirm the right of women to have an abortion.

“I am 100% pro-choice, and I believe that, in light of the recent radical ruling by the Supreme Court, which overturned 50 years of legal precedent by striking down Roe v Wade, it is critical that California take a stand and make our commitment to protecting a woman’s right to choose a constitutional right.”

Carbajal also said he supports President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan.

“I believe that all Central Coast residents deserve a chance to pursue an education for themselves or their children without being crushed by student debt,” Carbajal said. “As someone who used federal student loans to pursue my own education, I support President Biden’s choice to provide targeted student debt relief to working- and middle-class families. I know that this plan alone is not sufficient to solve college affordability in this country, and I will continue to work to bring down the cost of higher education for every Central Coast family.”

Brad Allen

Allen has made the rounds recently speaking to national conservative media, including a Fox News segment.

The candidate is heavily critical of politicians and has painted himself as a common-sense outsider who can bring traditional values to government.

“Have you ever noticed how career politicians rarely solve a problem?” Allen says on his YouTube video. “Their answer to everything seems to be to throw more money at it or more regulation. Then they lie and tell you they made things better when they actually made things worse in order to try and buy your vote.”

He is against President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan.

“Take college tuition, for example,” he said. “It’s high. Their answer? Throw hundreds of billions of dollars at it by forgiving student loans. How does it make college tuition lower? It doesn’t. It makes it higher.”

Allen also said the loan forgiveness program makes inflation higher. 

He often points to his career as a pediatric heart surgeon as an example of how he’s qualified for the seat. In his YouTube video, he uses an example of a broken arm. He said the problem is the broken arm, not the pain from the broken arm.

“You need your arm fixed, not pain pills,” Allen said. “But the professional politicians don’t look at it that way. They simply thrown money at it, or give you pain pills. They can’t be bothered to solve the underlying problem.”

On his website, Allen said the nation is experiencing the worst inflation in 40 years, rising gas and food prices, a surge in crime and murder, an attack on police, homelessness and illegal immigration and fentanyl streaming through open borders.

He also said the war in Ukraine was caused by poor foreign police. He also said government has attempted to “shut out parents from making decisions about their kids’ education, being more concerned about teaching even first- and second-graders about gender instead of math or science.”

He also cites runaway government spending, “enormous deficits and federal debt, rising interest rates, ongoing limits on our freedoms over COVID, including the severe damage this has caused to our children.”

“I have never seen our country change so quickly, or have so many problems,” Allen said on his website.

Allen said he wants to tame inflation by restoring fiscal responsibility. He said politicians should live under the budget laws that everyone lives under. He said he wants to reduce regulations to let businesses prosper. 

Allen said he wants to fund law enforcement, not “defund the police.”

In his video, Allen also said Congress should support parents and their right to educational choices. He also said, “We need to stop the gross mismanagement of COVID,” which has hurt businesses and children. 

He has strong views on immigration reform.

“We need to secure our border and bring order to immigration, which I think can be done by simply separating citizenship from the right to work,” Allen said. “Politicians only seem interested in votes and not solving this problem.”

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at jmolina@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Joshua Molina

Joshua Molina, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at jmolina@noozhawk.com.