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Candidate: It's time to eat again

San Diego Union Tribune (2010-08-23) Michele Clock

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Media Link: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/aug/23/east-county-congressional-candidate-breaks-fast/

Candidate: It's time to eat again

After 11 days, East County political activist breaks fast began to get debate

BY MICHELE CLOCK, UNION-TRIBUNE

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AUGUST 23, 2010 AT 11:16 A.M., UPDATED AUGUST 23, 2010 AT 8:13 P.M.

No one would have blamed him if he’d indulged in a cheeseburger or slice of chocolate cake.

But Democratic congressional candidate Ray Lutz opted for healthier fare Monday for his first real meal in 11 days: a Greek salad and a bread stick.

The longtime East County political activist admitted he got about as much traction from the attention-seeking move as possible.

“I am ready to start eating again,” Lutz said in an interview Monday, his 53rd birthday, before heading off to Pat & Oscar’s restaurant in El Cajon.

He started a hunger strike at sundown Aug. 12 with the goal of pressuring his Republican rival in the 52nd Congressional District race, U.S. Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, R-Alpine, to commit to debates in advance of the November election, the sooner the better, Lutz said.

Did he achieve his goal? Sort of, Lutz said.

Hunter’s campaign released a statement last week saying the first-term incumbent would participate in a San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce debate October 15.

Hunter campaign consultant Dave Gilliard denied that Hunter agreed to the debate in response to the hunger strike. Hunter’s campaign had said from the beginning he would debate in October.

“We told Lutz all along, we always planned to debate, just not on his timetable — ours,” Gilliard said.

Lutz had wanted multiple debates earlier in the campaign season before vote-by-mail ballots go out Oct. 4.

Still, Lutz saw one debate as at least a partial victory.

“I think that we did get one debate out of Hunter, we succeeded in that,” Lutz said. “That is something we probably wouldn’t have had otherwise.”

His unusual campaign move attracted local and national media attention, which Lutz conceded “got his name out there.”

“From a publicity standpoint, I think it worked pretty well,” said Lutz, a long-shot in the heavily Republican district.

Lutz started to phase out of the hunger strike over the weekend with sips of broth and bites of fruit, admitting he had just gotten too hungry to go on much longer.

“It’s hard doing a whole week of not eating,” he said.

Lutz said he will shift some of his attention on a larger initiative to push for more congressional debates across the nation.

Libertarian congressional candidate Michael Benoit, who is also vying for Hunter’s seat and had been fasting alongside Lutz, also resumed eating Monday.

Benoit said he went to a grocery store, stocked up on vegetables — tomatoes, cucumber, broccoli, carrots — and blended them into a juice.

“After I had that glass of juice, my body started to say, I’m hungry,” Benoit said. “It’s like the signals were turned off.”

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Title Candidate: It's time to eat again
Publisher San Diego Union Tribune
Author Michele Clock
Pub Date 2010-08-23
Media Link http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/aug/23/east-county-congressional-candidate-breaks-fast/
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Note Features Ray Lutz and Duncan Hunter Jr
Keywords CA50 Congressional District
Media Type Linked Article
Media Group News
Curator Rating Plain
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Topic revision: r3 - 2016-05-16, UnknownUser
 

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