Politics & Government

Capps faces growing field of challengers in congressional race

Dale Francisco, a Republican serving his second term on the Santa Barbara City Council, is the latest candidate to announce he will challenge incumbent Democrat Lois Capps in 2014 for the 24th District congressional seat.

Francisco, 60, filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on Nov. 12. Known as a staunch conservative, he has a background in computer networking and also as an engineer working for corporations such as Cisco Systems.

“Everybody realizes that our country is in serious trouble,” Francisco said. “We’ve got debt and spending issues that are unimaginable at the federal and state levels but it is the most dangerous at the federal level.”

Francisco said he wants to limit the federal government’s involvement in healthcare, among other things. “We’ve had five years of a terrible economy and I don’t see it getting any better,” Francisco said. “Neither the president nor Capps have any idea of how to do anything about that.”

Capps, serving her seventh term in Congress, will fight to keep her longtime seat in the House of Representatives. She solidly beat Republican challenger Abel Maldonado in November 2012.

Paul Coyne, 50, is the only Democrat so far to challenge Capps. Coyne, from Santa Maria, has launched a campaign against Capps that points out differences between them including his opposition to abortion and gay marriage. A graduate of West Point, Coyne had an extensive career in the grocery industry and later in sales and management in the banking industry.

Coyne’s political platform includes reducing the debt, balancing the budget, enacting congressional term limits, preserving Social Security and Medicare and reducing military spending.

Justin Fareed, a Republican from Santa Barbara, also filed a statement of candidacy indicating his intent to run. Fareed, a recent UCLA graduate, is a former congressional aide for Congressman Ed Whitefield of Kentucky and is vice president of his family’s business, Pro Band Sports Industries.

Fareed, 25, said he’s running to stop the “reckless” fiscal behavior of Congress that particularly impacts his generation through an imbalance in spending and revenues and a growing debt. “Congress must come together to create solutions that achieve fiscal sustainability and generational equity,” he said.

Chris Mitchum, 70, a self-professed Tea Party candidate who challenged Capps in 2012 but lost in the primary to Abel Maldonado, is also gearing up to run again. Mitchum, from Santa Barbara, is an actor and the son of the late actor Robert Mitchum.

He said he will run on the same platform as he did in the past but plans to run a stronger campaign by raising more money. Mitchum advocates repealing the Affordable Care Act, limiting regulations on businesses and stopping new taxes.