Twenty-fourth Congressional District Democratic candidate Tim Allison held an official campaign kickoff Saturday evening for his candidacy in the upcoming primary. The event, held at the home of Melissa DeMarco in Camarillo, invited community members to enjoy a catered meal complete with chocolate fondue fountain and to hear from Allison on key campaign issues.
Allison has two tasks to complete in this upcoming campaign, he said: First, to convince Democratic voters that he is more qualified than opponents Shawn Stern and Marie Panec for the Democratic nomination. Second, should he receive the Democratic nomination, to beat 23-year Republican incumbent Elton Gallegly.
Event attendees expressed awareness of this challenge and frustration with Rep. Gallegly’s purported lack of constituent services and overall lack of initiative while in office. They also voiced their desire for a Democratic representative in the 24th District. As Ventura County Democratic Party Chair Brian Leemon said, “It’s important that a Democratic candidate win this district and I think Tim is well-positioned to do that.”
Allison, a law school graduate turned real estate broker, worked on the Obama campaign as coordinator in Santa Barbara County. He spoke to attendees Saturday night about his qualifications and goals if elected, and stressed the importance of constituent services, healthcare, and economic recovery. He also emphasized Rep. Gallegly’s lack of initiative in the House.
In an interview after his talk, Allison highlighted his four most importance issues: “Jumpstarting the economy and creating jobs, improving education, reforming healthcare, and protecting our environment.” He also discussed the need for businesses to work together with environmentalists. “We need to do everything to make sure that the business community and the environmental community are on the same page, because they have a lot more in common than they think,” said Allison, referring to the business community’s interests in tourism as a motivating factor to keep beaches clean.
The California 24th Congressional District comprises large sections of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Republican Elton Gallegly has held the district’s House seat for 23 years. However, many in the room Saturday night were optimistic about Allison’s chances due to recent trends. Over the past 10 years, the district has been leaning Democratic as, after initialing comprising only 12 percent of the district’s voters, registered Democrats now trail Republicans by only 6 percent. President Obama won the district by 3 percent in last year’s election. Democrats are also optimistic because 17 percent of the district’s voters decline to state their party affiliation, making them the elusive “swing voters” which are Allison’s campaign intends to target.
Longtime friend and event attendee Bev Herbert summed up many people’s sentiments on Saturday night by stating, “I think Ventura County needs a change and I think Tim would be a good person to do it.”