Two congressional candidates in California have embarked on a hunger strike to force incumbent Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter to debate them. Democrat Ray Lutz and Libertarian Mike Benoit, who are running for Southern California's 52nd district, have not eaten anything since last Thursday; they plan to continue the strike until Friday, at which point they'll call the strike off even if Hunter has not caved to their demands.
"Unlike the Irish Republicans who died of starvation after hunger strikes protesting British rule in the 1980s, Lutz will only go so far," Politico's Kasie Hunt reports. "'I don't want to die - going to a debate with Duncan Hunter is not important enough for me to die,' he told POLITICO on Tuesday."
Lutz has so far missed 17 meals, lost 14 pounds, and taken an enema to avoid toxic shock. His efforts, however, may be in vain:
The San Diego-area 52nd District is heavily Republican and Hunter is expected to win the November election easily. He is a freshman who replaced his father, former Rep. Duncan Hunter, after the elder man decided to retire.
Hunter has agreed to debate Lutz and Benoit in October, but the candidates want to set an earlier date. Dave Gilliard, a spokesman for Hunter, did not sound swayed by the pair's tactic. "My hope is that he holds out and doesn't expire before October because that's when we're going to debate him, and we've told him that several times," Gilliard told Politico.
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