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.