|(Mar. 14, 2019, 11:10 a.m.) -- Eight of eleven active state Senate candidates seeking to represent roughly half of Long Beach and several SE L.A. County cities (map below) participated in a March 13 candidate forum organized by the Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Roughly sixty people attended the event at The Pointe on the CSULB campus.
The candidates had one minute to open, one minute to respond to organizers' questions (posed to four of the eight candidates at a time) and one minute close. In our view, their closing statements best summarized their stances. LBREPORT.com provides video below.
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Candidate Lena Gonzalez (LB Councilwoman) wasn't present, nor were candidates Denise Diaz (South Gate Councilwoman) and Chris Garcia (Cudahy Councilman). Candidate Gonzalez had early support from immediate-past state Senator Ricardo Lara, LB Mayor Robert Garcia, Cong. Alan Lowenthal, Supervisor Janice Hahn and was recently endorsed by the LB Democratic Club. She's also has a six figure campaign warchest backed by multiple labor PACs and is separately supported by an oil-industry backed independent campaign PAC. If Gonzalez were to receive 50%+1 of ballots cast on March 26 (vote by mail ballots flying now), she could be sworn into Sacramento office in April; otherwise, she'll face an opponent in a June 4 runoff.
Dem candidates from smaller cities outside Long Beach have bristled at the notion of an "anointed" candidate. Immediately after the forum, candidate Jose Solache (Lynwood Mayor) released a Facebook video blasting "big money" in the campaign. Repub Guerrero (a Cudahy Councilman) has drawn indie support by blasting the status quo and urging fiscal discipline, school choice, smaller government and lower taxes. The CA Secretary of State's office indicates the 33rd state Senate district has 55.1% registered Dems, 27.9% indicating No Party Preference, 11.8% Repubs plus 0.46% Green and others.
In February, candidate Gonzalez told RHCC organizers she would be unable to attend their March 13 forum. On March 12, LBREPORT.com asked the Gonzalez campaign (via Facebook message) the reason(s) for her absence, the campaign replied that Gonzalez "has a longstanding conflict." LBREPORT.com asked what that longstanding conflict was but has received no response.
Candidate Gonzalez wasn't present at a Feb. 27 candidate forum (part of monthly Beer & Politics series at Liberation Brewing) and we learned thereafter that she was in Vancouver, BC as part of LB delegation to promote trade with Canada. On Feb. 28, LBREPORT.com invited candidate Gonzalez by email to answer three of the questions posed to candidates at the forum the night before...and we haven't received her answers to date.
On March 9, LBREPORT.com went to an "Ask Lena" candidate event, seeking to get her answers in person. At the event (held at a Lakewood business) we were told it wasn't open to press; we let a campaign rep on site know that we wished to ask candidate Gonzalez three questions posed at the Feb. 27 candidate forum, waited outside the business' front door (fronting the business' parking lot) until the event evened...and candidate Gonzalez exited via a backdoor (opening onto an alley.)
(Candidate Gonzalez did participate in a LB candidate forum limited to Dem and female candidates; LBREPORT.com declined to treat the event as newsworthy as it limited candidates by gender and party.)
RHCC's website stated mission is to "Advocate, Promote, and Facilitate the Success of Businesses in the Southern California and its Trade Areas." It said it organized the March 13 event as an opportunity for the candidates to present their views.
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