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California Congressional Challengers On Hunger Strike To Force Debate With Duncan Hunter

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 08/18/10 02:13 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 06:25 PM ET

Duncan Hunter Hunger Strike
AP File Photo

California Congressional challengers in the Golden State's 52nd Congressional District are in the midst of a hunger strike designed to force incumbent Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter to partake in debates later this month.

Democrat Ray Lutz began the strike on sundown of August 12 to protest Hunter's refusal to debate the candidates until October. Libertarian candidate Mike Benoit joined him five days later. Lutz says he's willing to take his foodless streak until the 20th, but after six days, he is already feeling the effects.

Politico reports:

So far, Lutz has had a rough ride: He's missed 17 meals, lost 14 pounds, taken an enema to avoid toxic shock, talked to a doctor who recommended a salt-water purge, given up exercise and is so tired he has resorted to napping during the day.

But that's elicited little sympathy from Duncan's campaign, who shows few signs of caving to the non-feeding demonstration.

"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," Hunter spokesman Dave Gilliard told Politico.

Lutz has repeatedly spoken out against Rep. Hunter's reluctance to confront his opponents in an open dialogue until October -- after early voting has begun -- and has said that the seat's control has been defined by nepotism through its passage from Hunter's father, Duncan L. Hunter, to Duncan D. Hunter.

"We say we have a democracy, but at the same time, we know it is severely broken. One of the most obvious ways it is broken is the fact that incumbents tend to stay in office, no matter how incompetent or unqualified they are. This 52nd district is an obvious example of that, coupled with handing the seat from father to son simply by using nearly the same name," Lutz wrote on Wednesday.

The 52nd Congressional District is largely Republican and is expected to vote heavily for Hunter's reelection.

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