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California Senate candidates are asked if Biden, Trump are too old

With millions of ballots already being mailed across the Golden State, the four leading candidates were at times on the defensive during the second televised debate in California, where President Biden and Former President Trump was pressed to say whether he thought he was too old. run for re-election.

Reps. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), as well as Republican candidate Steve Garvey, all faced pointed questions from the moderators. Porter was asked whether he took too long to propose solutions to California's housing crisis. Ms. Lee spoke about her support for a $50 minimum wage and whether it is sustainable for small businesses. Mr. Garvey then pressed him to say whether he would accept Mr. Trump's support if it were offered to him.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) avoided a similar pointed question, but was asked whether California's progressive criminal justice reforms went too far, but he is a hardliner on the subject. His views have changed significantly since his early days as a. -Crime Democrat, California State Senator.

Ballots for the primary election were mailed out last week. More than 22 million Californians will be able to vote to replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who died in September.

Recent polls show Schiff's lead widening. A poll conducted in January by the Institute of Government at the University of California, Berkeley, co-sponsored by the Times, found that 21% of likely voters supported Mr. Schiff, 17% supported Mr. Porter, 13% supported Mr. Garvey, and 9% supported Mr. Lee. I supported Mr.

Garvey, a former first baseman with the Dodgers and San Diego Padres, aims to appeal to a dwindling but significant number of registered Republicans across the Golden State, as well as “party-agnostic” voters. It also aims to appeal to voters and registered Democrats who believe their party has support. He couldn't deal with homelessness, the high cost of living, and other pressing issues.

“These three career politicians have failed the people,” Garvey said during a debate on the state's price crisis. Mr. Lee, Mr. Porter and Mr. Schiff have a combined 60 years of experience, and “they could have solved this problem,” he said.

In the final weeks of the primary campaign, Porter and Schiff launched a barrage of multimillion-dollar television and radio ads. A new ad campaign by Mr. Schiff and his allies focuses on Mr. Garvey, calling him “too conservative for California” and loyal to Mr. Trump. It's a strategy likely to increase the political newcomer's profile among Republicans.

If Garvey consolidates Republican support, he could finish in the top two in the primary, which is enough to advance to the general election in November. For Schiff, Garvey's endorsement could give Porter an edge in the November election and ease his path to victory.

Porter's campaign ads focus on her reputation in Congress as a provocateur of Washington's entrenched political hierarchy and tout her independence and unswaying from corporate interests. are doing. She mentioned Monday her work on the House Oversight Committee, which has grilled Wall Street CEOs, and said she intends to bring those incisive investigations to the Senate.

All four candidates were asked whether they thought Mr. Biden, 81, and Mr. Trump, 77, were too old to run for a second term. No matter how many words I tried, everyone said no.

Biden after the special counsel investigating whether he mishandled classified documents during his previous roles as vice president and senator claimed that the president does not remember major milestones in his life. His age has become a major issue in the 2024 presidential election.

“I have to say experience matters. When it comes to term limits and age limits, this is a democracy. People have the right to vote for who they want to vote for,” said Lee, 77. Told.

“We all have to make that decision with our own minds, with our own eyes and ears,” said Garvey, 75.

In a fast-paced, hour-long debate hosted by San Francisco's Nexstar affiliate KRON 4 and broadcast on news stations across the state, Schiff said Trump is unfit to be president at any age, and Garvey said Trump was not fit to be president at any age. accused him of supporting the former president despite his failed attempts to overturn it. 2020 presidential election results. Garvey said he voted for Trump in the 2016 and 2020 elections.

Asked if he had spoken to Trump since he began his campaign or if he intended to accept Trump's endorsement, Garvey initially avoided the question, but ultimately said he had not spoken to the former president. He said no. He declined to say whether he would accept President Trump's support.

“These are personal choices,” Garvey said. “I answer to God, my wife, my family, and the people of California. And I hope you will respect that I have a personal choice.”

Lee largely avoided controversy during the debate, but did explain how his support for a $50 minimum wage, nearly seven times the national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, makes economic sense for small business owners. I was asked. She said this wage is necessary for families to make ends meet because of California's high cost of living, but implied that it doesn't apply nationally.

“We have to focus on what California needs and what the affordability factors are,” she said.

Porter was asked why he waited until last week to announce a plan to solve California's housing crisis, one of the biggest problems facing the state. She responded that she has first-hand experience, having worked on this issue throughout her career as a consumer rights lawyer since first arriving in Congress in 2018.

“My own children wonder if they will be able to live in California when they graduate high school because of the high cost of living,” Porter said.

Hosts Frank Buckley of KTLA 5 and Nikki Lorenzo of FOX 40 spoke to Schiff about progressive initiatives such as eliminating cash bail for nonviolent crimes and reducing some felonies to misdemeanors. I asked him if he thought criminal justice reform had gone “too far.”

Schiff said there is “no question that California has a crime problem, especially purse snatching,” but said the data does not suggest that progressive criminal justice reform is to blame. Ta. Instead, he said the state needs to invest more in community policing.

“Ever since I was a prosecutor, I have been focused on keeping our communities safe,” Schiff said. “When Mr. Garvey was playing baseball, I was litigating cases in the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles.”

Schiff, a former federal prosecutor, entered the state Senate race in 1996 on a tough-on-crime platform, telling voters he supported the state's three-strike law and the death penalty.

Schiff told the Times last week that while “certainly there was a time when I supported the death penalty for people who killed police officers and people who killed children,” he no longer supports the death penalty.

After the debate, Lee, who served as a California congressman at the same time as Schiff, said their contrasting views on the topic gave voters a clear choice. She recalled that she sponsored a bill to amend the state's “three strikes” law, but Schiff voted against it.

“The difference between us is that I look at criminal justice reform and public safety comprehensively, and that enhanced sentencing does not necessarily mean less crime,” she said.

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