CA Senate candidates debated for the last time before March 5th primary


The four leading California Senate candidates took the stage in Los Angeles Tuesday night for a final debate before the March 5th primary that will determine the top two vote-getters who will face off in the November election.

Three Democrats, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. Katie Porter, along with Republican Steve Garvey spent the one-hour debate trying to define and differentiate themselves.

The first question tested their views on the economy and inflation.

"We need to bring down the cost of energy and we can do that with a windfall profits tax on oil companies," said Representative Schiff.

"What really happened is the overspending in Washington which caused inflation," Garvey said.

"Career politicians haven't focused on our challenges including the costs of housing, the cost of childcare, the cost of eldercare, the costs of college," Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter of Irvine said.

"People are working 2-3 jobs just to pay rent, just to afford childcare. We have to think about and talk about a living wage," Congresswoman Barbara Lee of Oakland said.

The candidates were asked about the recent bipartisan immigration bill. All four candidates said they would not have voted for it.

When asked if they support a complete ceasefire in Gaza, Rep. Lee was the only one who was in favor of it.

There were also questions about the environment, the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant, and nuclear power.

Rep. Porter and Rep. Lee were opposed to nuclear power. Rep. Schiff said he felt nuclear power has some value in combination with renewable energy.

Garvey said he supports nuclear power and traditional fossil fuels.

Throughout the debate, frontrunner Rep. Schiff presented himself as someone who'd get things done.

Porter poses the biggest threat to Schiff's campaign if she overtakes Garvey to make it a two-Democrat race in November. Porter was on the attack Tuesday night, positioning herself as the more progressive Democrat.

"I made a choice to never take corporate PAC money," Porter said. "Rep. Schiff made a different choice."

Garvey said he would be a unifying bipartisan senator if elected.

"On day one, I'll start a march to 99 other senators and say I'm here to build consensus. I'm there to bring people together," Garvey said.

Garvey did face criticism over his past support of former President Trump.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee did not attack, focusing instead on highlighting her personal background and progressive record.

"I have been on food stamps," said Rep. Lee, noting that her life experiences have helped her represent underserved communities.

"It is a shame our dreamers can't get citizenship," Rep. Lee said. "In the Senate, that is the first thing I would do."

The primary election is March 5th.


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