In an unprecedented departure from campaign tradition, Republican congressional candidate Justin Fareed has opted not to include a candidate’s statement in the sample ballot that was mailed out this week in Santa Barbara County. Fareed, now waging his third campaign for California’s 24th Congressional district, is running against Democratic incumbent Salud Carbajal and another Republican challenger, Michael Erin Woody from Morro Bay. Lacking a statement, voters relying on the sample ballot for information on their congressional candidates will be hard-pressed to know Fareed’s commitment to the race.
Fareed has submitted a candidate’s statement for Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties, where the cost of such statements is considerably less. Campaign sources indicated the $8,000 a statement costs in Santa Barbara could be more effectively spent micro-targeting high-propensity voters likely to support Fareed. Operatives with other campaigns expressed mild bewilderment and curiosity at Fareed’s decision. Given federal election rules, the fact that there’s a three-person race for the seat means there will be a runoff between the two top vote-getters in November. Given their campaign experience, political war chests, and name identification, political handicappers expect Carbajal and Fareed to face off again. Fareed just secured the endorsement of the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association (DSA) of Santa Barbara, a group that endorsed Carbajal when he ran against Fareed two years ago. Calls to the DSA for comment were not returned by deadline.