Newsom, Dahle set to debate; poll shows many unfamiliar with GOP challenger

State Senator Brian Dahle (R-Redding) is trying to get his message out to voters, with just over four weeks from Election Day. The Republican candidate for governor of California is a farmer from rural Lassen County. He faces a steep challenge in incumbent and Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom, in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2 to 1. "We love California, it’s an awesome state," said Dahle in a Zoom interview. "We just need some balance at the top of the ticket and that balance is me."

This week both men agreed to a debate on KQED radio on October 23. It’s there, Dahle hopes to lay out his plans, if elected. "It’s a great opportunity for Californians to see the contrast between the governor and myself," said Dahle. "I’m excited about it."

When asked about when a possible debate for this was set, Newsom said, "Yeah, we’ll do it. Just as we did the last time I ran for office. I look forward to it." 

Chief on his list of his concerns is inflation and the cost of living in the Golden State. "Inflation is hammering Californians, it’s due to the policies Gavin Newsom and his party have put out," said Dahle. "We’ll be focusing on how we can drive down inflation."

As gas prices soar again, Newsom blamed oil companies and proposed a windfall tax on their profits. "The fact is, they’re ripping you off," said Newsom in a pre-recorded video on his Twitter. "The record profits are coming at your expense." 

Newsom is also pushing to speed up the switch to winter-blend fuel. Dahle and other state Republicans have been calling for a suspension of the state’s gas tax. "We proposed it over a year ago, to drop the 54 cents a gallon gas tax, and then backfill with the surplus," said Dahle. He went on to say, "Gavin Newsom and his party said no, we’re not doing that, we’ll give you a couple $100 before the election." 

SEE ALSO: California governor approves farmworker unionization law

Dahle’s bid remains a longshot according to the latest Berkeley IGS poll: 53% of likely voters say they plan to vote for Newsom. 32% say they support Dahle. 52% said they were unfamiliar with Dahle. "We’re pushing out as much we can with the resources we have available, to let Californians know that there is an option this next month," said Dahle. 

Newsom’s been using some of his campaign funds to put up billboards in states restriction abortion access, telling women to come to California. Dahle calls himself "pro-life," he’s voted against measures to increase access, but previously said rolling back abortion rights are not on his agenda. With ballots getting sent out soon, sharing that agenda, is his biggest challenge. "I believe in hard work, good policy and making sure government works for the people and it’s not working right now," said Dahle.