Political campaigns traditionally begin in earnest right after Labor Day, and the fight between Republican Justin Fareed and Democrat Salud Carbajal to succeed nine-term incumbent Lois Capps to represent the 24th Congressional District bears this out in spades. Fareed was first to hit the airwaves, broadcasting a 30-second TV commercial likening Carbajal, a three-term county supervisor, to stale and very moldy bread and wilted flowers. By contrast, Fareed, a 28-year-old who’s never held office, is portraying himself as a vigorous political outsider eager to disrupt the status quo. The ad calls out Carbajal by name, depicting him in blanched colors in a rumpled suit. By contrast, Fareed is depicted in full color, sleeves rolled up to take maximum visual advantage of his muscular biceps.
Likewise, the Republican National Congressional Committee sent out emails attacking Carbajal for joining House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at her house several weeks ago for political hobnobbery and policy prognostications from the likes of former Labor secretary Robert Reich. “He has embraced Pelosi’s far-left agenda that will skyrocket our national debt,” wrote Republican spokesperson Zach Hunter. Hunter reprinted an op-ed penned by COLAB’s (Coalition of Labor, Agriculture, and Business) Andy Caldwell, a North County conservative who’s long locked horns with Carbajal.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) threw down in turn, calling out recent news reports that Fareed’s political mentor — Congressmember Ed Whitfield of Kentucky — just resigned from office with five months left on his term in the wake of an official reproval by the House Committee on Ethics earlier this summer. Fareed spent 15 months working for Whitfield at a time when the Kentucky representative was pushing animal welfare legislation designed to protect show horses from gait-altering practices deemed cruel. That legislation was backed by Whitfield’s wife — Connie Harriman-Whitfield — then a lobbyist for the Humane Society, and the Ethics Committee found Whitfield and his staff improperly allowed his congressional office to be used for meetings between Harriman-Whitfield and other members of Congress. Whitfield claimed to not know his wife was a professional lobbyist for at least three years of the four years she’d worked on behalf of the legislation in question.
Ultimately, the Ethics Committee would find Whitfield did not intentionally violate the rules, but it concluded he should have taken greater care not to tarnish the reputation of Congress. Whitfield has donated $10,000 to Fareed’s congressional campaign. Barbara Solish with the DCCC challenged Fareed in her media missive to return Whitfield’s “tainted money immediately” and disclose what role he may have had in the Whitfield investigation.