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California House Candidates Stage Hunger Strike Over Duncan Debates

AOL Politics Daily (2010-08-19) Christopher Weber

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California House Candidates Stage Hunger Strike Over Duncan Debates

By Christopher Weber

Two congressional candidates who want Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif.) to put his money where his mouth is aren't putting food where their mouths are.

Democrat Ray Lutz and Libertarian Mike Benoit are staging hunger strikes to demand a series of debates with Hunter beginning this month. Hunter has said he won't appear at any debates before October.

Both men have gone seven days with no meals, only water.

Benoit said Thursday he's starting to take it easy on the campaign trail because "you've got to watch your energy."

"There's a few hours of the day where you feel that everything's normal, but there's some times where you're spacey, a little dizzy," said Benoit.

Both Lutz and Benoit agreed to forego food beginning at dusk Aug. 12.

Hunter has said he will debate both men on Oct. 15, which Benoit said is "way too late."

"That's a sham. By then, a tremendous number of absentee voters will have already voted," Benoit said.

Lutz wrote on his web site that he's lost 12-14 pounds. "I am finding it possible to work a full day in the campaign office but I have to admit walking the dog in the morning was slower than I usually walk," Lutz wrote.

Hunter's campaign did not immediately return a request for a comment Thursday.

In a written statement Thursday, Lutz said he has no plans to end his hunger strike.

Benoit said he hasn't decided when he'll finish his fast. But he hopes if Duncan doesn't agree to an earlier debate, "at least something constructive will come out of it."

"Maybe we can get 100 more supporters to sign up with us and try to get out the vote," Benoit said.

Hunter is heavily favored in the race in the 52nd District around San Diego. He is freshman who replaced his father, former Rep. Duncan Hunter.

His opponents accuse Hunter of trading on his father's reputation and not making a name for himself. Lutz pointed to a recent gaffe by CNN, which mistakenly aired footage of Duncan Hunter Sr. in a piece about his son.

"This is exactly why the voters everywhere in the district need to see this guy debate -- they still don't know who they're voting for -- he even uses nearly the same graphics on his signs that his father did," Lutz said in Thursday's statement. "If he only appears in one debate, that will obviously reduce his exposure to the voters and hide the truth: that he just isn't his father."

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Title California House Candidates Stage Hunger Strike Over Duncan Debates
Publisher AOL Politics Daily
Author Christopher Weber
Pub Date 2010-08-19
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Note Features Ray Lutz and Duncan Hunter Jr
Media Type Linked Article
Media Group News
Curator Rating Plain
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Topic revision: r1 - 20 Aug 2010, ChristineCullinan
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