Candidates to face off at CLU
Forum participants running for Congress, Assembly

THOUSAND OAKS, CA - Candidates vying to represent Ventura County in the U.S. House of Representatives and the California Assembly will participate in a public forum on Saturday, May 10, at California Lutheran University.

The event, presented by the Acorn Newspapers and CLU, will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Gilbert Sports and Fitness Center on the Thousand Oaks campus.

Three of the four candidates on the June 3 primary ballot for the 26th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives plan to participate. They are state Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo, Republican businessman Rafael Dagnesses of Santa Rosa Valley and independent Douglas Kmiec, a Pepperdine University law professor from Malibu. The incumbent, Julia Brownley, D-Thousand Oaks, declined to participate.

The 26th District includes all of Ventura County except for most of Simi Valley and a coastal strip on the north end of the county, and extends into sections of Los Angeles County. Closely divided between Democrats and Republicans, it is considered one of the most competitive districts in California.

All of the candidates for the 44th Assembly District plan to participate in the forum: Thousand Oaks Councilwoman Jacqui Irwin, a Democrat, and Thousand Oaks pastor Rob McCoy and Camarillo businessman Mario de la Piedra, both Republicans. The 44th District includes most of Ventura County including Camarillo, Oxnard, Moorpark, Port Hueneme, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and parts of Simi Valley.

The first- and second-place finishers in both races, regardless of party, will advance to the general election ballot.

CLU political science professor Herb Gooch will introduce the candidates. John Loesing, managing editor of the Acorn Newspapers, and Kyle Jorrey, editor of the Thousand Oaks Acorn, will ask questions that were composed with Gooch’s assistance.

The event will be streamed live at

The forum is free and open to the public. Gilbert Sports and Fitness Center is located at 130 Overton Court. For more information, contact Gooch at or 805-493-3348, or Jorrey at