Some House hope­fuls to skip fo­rum

Fewer than half com­mit to par­tic­i­pat­ing


PALM­DALE — Fewer than half of the 13 can­di­dates run­ning for the 25th Con­gres­sional District seat are ex­pected to ap­pear for a Satur­day night can­di­date fo­rum spon­sored by the Amer­i­can Is­lamic In­sti­tute of An­te­lope Val­ley and Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Is­lamic Re­la­tions Greater Los Angeles Area Chap­ter.

The fo­rum is sched­uled from 5 to 7 p.m. in the cafe­te­ria of the for­mer Guid­ance Char­ter School, 1125 East Palm­dale Blvd.

“We are just the host for the venue. This was or­ga­nized by CAIR,” Ka­mal Al-Khatib, pres­i­dent of Amer­i­can Is­lamic In­sti­tute of AV, said.

Only five can­di­dates con­firmed their ap­pear­ance: Demo­crat Cenk Uygur, a pro­gres­sive jour­nal­ist; Demo­crat Ani­bal Valdéz-Ortega, an at­tor­ney; Demo­crat F. David Rud­nick, a busi­ness owner; Repub­li­can

Ken­neth Jenks, a telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions ex­ec­u­tive; and no party can­di­date Otis Lee Cooper, a le­gal de­fense in­ves­ti­ga­tor.

The 25th Con­gres­sional District in­cludes Palm­dale, part of Lan­caster, Santa Clarita and Simi Val­ley. The seat has been va­cant since for­mer Demo­cratic Rep. Katie Hill re­signed last Novem­ber.

Uygur, Valdéz-Ortega and Jenks are run­ning in both pri­mary elec­tions on March 3.

Vot­ers will choose a can­di­date for the full two-year term on March 3. The top two can­di­dates will ad­vance to the Nov. 3 gen­eral elec­tion.

Vot­ers will also choose a can­di­date for the spe­cial pri­mary elec­tion. The can­di­date who wins the spe­cial pri­mary elec­tion, or a runoff elec­tion if no can­di­date gets more than 50% of the vote, will serve un­til Jan­uary 2021 when the seat ex­pires.

Cooper and Rud­nick did not file nom­i­na­tion pa­pers to run in the spe­cial pri­mary elec­tion.

Al-Khatib said all con­gres­sional can­di­dates were in­vited to at­tend.

Those in­clude Democrats Assem­bly­woman Christy Smith, Getro El­ize and uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sor Robert Cooper III; and Repub­li­cans Steve Knight, who lost the seat to

Hill in Novem­ber 2018, small busi­ness­man and fa­ther Mike Gar­cia, for­mer Trump ad­vi­sor Ge­orge Pa­padopou­los, at­tor­ney/busi­ness owner David Lozano, mother and busi­ness­woman Court­ney

Lackey and busi­ness owner/fa­ther Daniel Mer­curi.

“The other peo­ple, they are so ar­ro­gant, they think they have it in the bag,” Al-Khatib said. “Peo­ple like to hear from them, but they ig­nored it. They didn’t even re­ply. … This is how ar­ro­gant they are.”

Al-Khatib said the can­di­dates who did not re­spond should have at least sent word that they could not make it be­cause of other obli­ga­tions.

“They choose to ig­nore the peo­ple,” he added.

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