Hunger Strike Day 7: Congressman Hunter succumbs to hunger strike pressure, delivers debate accepta


Ray Lutz for Congress 2010

Media Contact: Brennan Purtzer, Media Director

619-447-3246 / [email protected]


Hunger Strike Day 7: Congressman Hunter succumbs to hunger strike pressure, delivers debate acceptance letter

Hunter’s limited debate acceptance still inadequate, says Lutz; strike to continue

San Diego County, Calif. (August 19, 2010) – At 10:45 a.m. on Thursday morning, Hunter for Congress representative Wes Schermann hand-delivered a letter acknowledging acceptance of an Oct. 15 congressional debate invitation to Lutz for Congress’s Main Street office in El Cajon.

Mr. Schermann and the letter were warmly received by Lutz Campaign Manager Brennan Purtzer.

“We appreciate receiving a response from the Hunter Campaign, but 58 percent of the electorate voted absentee in the primary – many of these voters turning them in on the first day,” Lutz said. “Since absentee ballots are being distributed on Oct. 4, we scheduled our proposed debate series for August and September so it would not conflict with the legislative calendar.”

The Hunter letter, arriving 72 days after Lutz won the California Democratic primary election in June, is the first communication Hunter’s group has had with the Lutz campaign. It arrived only hours after Lutz was featured on a nationally televised live interview on CNN, and 17 days after Hunter’s office received its first debate request from the Lutz campaign.

“This action shows that Hunter is feeling the pressure from the public about avoiding the debates,” said Ray Lutz, Hunter’s Democratic challenger to represent California’s 52nd district. “Without the hunger strike, I doubt they would respond at all.”

Lutz continued, “It’s a step in the right direction. I hope Hunter can make it to the debate. This is what happened in my campaign for the 77th State Assembly District in 2008. My opponent backed out at the last minute, forcing the debate to be canceled, and it was too late to set one up at that point.”

Lutz says he won’t end his strike, which has garnered national media attention, including an interview with Kyra Phillips on CNN on Thursday morning. During Lutz’s interview, he made the point that media outlets and voters alike were still confusing Duncan L. Hunter and Duncan D. Hunter. To accentuate Lutz’s point, CNN mistakenly aired footage of Duncan Hunter Sr. while he made this remark.

“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. “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.”

The debate Hunter has agreed to attend is to take place October 15 at Cuyamaca College, and is sponsored by the East County Chamber of Commerce, of which Hunter is a member.

Lutz asserts that the voters need to see at least three debates before the vote-by-mail ballots are distributed. “Hunter needs to agree to an honest series of debates before I’ll agree to pick up my fork again.”

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For media inquiries, contact Brennan Purtzer, media coordinator, at 619.447.3246