Congressional candidate ends hunger strike
North County Times (2010-08-23) Teri Figueroa
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REGION: Congressional candidate ends hunger strike
By TERI FIGUEROA
| Posted: Monday, August 23, 2010 8:39 pm
Eleven days after going on a hunger strike, congressional candidate Ray Lutz broke his fast Monday afternoon, noshing on bread sticks and salad at a restaurant in El Cajon.
Lutz started the hunger strike Aug. 12, declaring he would not eat until Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, R-El Cajon, agreed to debate him.
Lutz, however, broke his fast after creating a group, which he dubbed Debate for Democracy, to "carry on his work," the candidate announced in a news release Monday.
"Now that I know the fight for debates will continue, I feel it's time to have a bite," Lutz said in a written statement.
Lutz lost about 17 pounds during the 11-day hunger strike, campaign spokesman Brennan Purtzer said.
The candidate sustained himself with water, apple juice and vitamins, Purtzer said.
Over the weekend, Lutz prepared for heavier sustenance with vegetable broth and a bit of fruit.
Lutz, 53, is the Democratic candidate in the 52nd Congressional District, which includes portions of North County.
Incumbent Hunter won the seat in 2008 following retirement of his father, Duncan Hunter, who had held the seat for 28 years.
The congressman will debate Lutz in October, once Congress is out of session, his campaign has said.
Purtzer said he believes that the debate won't take place until after voters start receiving their absentee ballots.
Lutz said he founded Debate for Democracy, which he said was a nonpartisan group, after talking to other congressional challengers also having what he said was a tough time getting incumbents to agree to debates.
"I just made a few phone calls, and immediately realized this was a national problem,” Lutz said. "Congressman Hunter isn't the only incumbent ducking debates."
Lutz's newly founded group can be found online at debatefordemocracy.org
Staff writer Edward Sifuentes contributed to this story.