Contenders vie for Capps’ congressional seat

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It’s a political game-changer. When longtime Central Coast Congresswoman, Rep. Lois Capps (D), announced she would not run for reelection in 2016, it only took a few hours for candidates to speak up declaring their interest in representing the 24th Congressional District. Capps was elected to Congress in 1998. Her husband, Walter Capps, preceded her in the position. He’d been in office for less than one year when he died of a heart attack in 1997.

Jerry Roberts, co-founder of the political news & commentary website, CalBuzz, stopped by to talk about who has the best chance of becoming the Central Coast’s next Congress member.

Roberts said two Democrats and one Republican are among the top contenders: Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider (D), First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal (D) and San Luis Obispo Assembly member Katcho Achadjian.

Mayor Helene Schneider
First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal
San Luis Obispo Assembly member Katcho Achadjian
San Luis Obispo Assembly member Katcho Achadjian

Roberts said Schneider ruffled some feathers by voicing her candidacy within hours of Capps’ announcement. “It took her about 12 seconds,” said Roberts. “Some people, mostly insiders, thought that was a little discourteous, that this should have been Lois’s day, to sort of bask in it.”

Roberts says Carbajal has a good chance of winning. “It’s Salud’s race to lose. He’s been preparing to do this since the fifth grade,” said Roberts.

Among the Republicans, Roberts thinks Achadjian will have a presence, especially since 43% of the voters in the 24th district are from San Luis Obispo. “He’s more of that Central Coast Republican and less of a hard line, right wing type person,” said Roberts.

You can read Jerry Roberts’ stories on this and other topics in the Santa Barbara Independent.