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With Eyes of Nation Watching, Salas Ducks Out of TV Debate vs. Valadao

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Mark Pazin and Esmeralda Soria, right, will meet live in a debate for Assembly District 27, but challenger Rudy Salas has bowed out of his televised debate with Rep. David Valadao. (GV Wire/Paul Marshall)
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A debate was supposed to take place tonight for one of the most watched and important congressional races in the nation.

But, one candidate pulled out because his opponent said mean things about him in a TV ad.

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David Taub

Politics 101

Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, and Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, were scheduled to meet face-to-face at a Bakersfield TV studio Wednesday night and carried on Fresno station KSEE-24.

Salas pulled out.

“Voters deserve the truth and David Valadao has shown that he cannot go a day without airing TV ads blatantly lying about my bipartisan record on holding opioid peddlers accountable. Politics is a tough business. But when Bakersfield high school students are overdosing in school and a supply of Narcan is necessary in middle schools, I can’t in good conscience participate in giving him a bigger platform to lie. He should immediately put an ad on tv apologizing to the families of opioid crisis victims,” Salas said in a statement.

Valadao harped on Salas’s no-show.

“It’s disappointing but not at all surprising that my opponent is backing out of our debate at the eleventh hour,” Valadao said. “Rudy Salas has made a career of ducking votes and trying to hide his positions from voters. He’s just confirming what we’ve known all along — the Central Valley can’t trust Rudy to show up when we need him.”

Both men have raised millions for their campaigns. The San Joaquin Valley Sun reports that with outside money, total spending in the Congressional District 22 race is at $20 million. Many political analysts have cited this race as being critical to determining whether Democrats keep the House or Republicans take back control.

Now Valadao will have the TV time all to himself, in a reconfigured half-hour conversation.

Pazin-Soria Debate Is Monday

In another hot race, Mark Pazin and Esmeralda Soria will meet live in a debate for Assembly District 27.

Mark Keppler of the Maddy Institute will moderate the event, Monday, Oct. 17, at 6 p.m. live from UC Merced. The event will be streamed on Zoom and Facebook Live.

Soria is a Fresno City Council and Democrat. Pazin is a former Merced County sheriff and a Republican.

The debate will focus on five “agreed-upon” topics: housing and homelessness; public safety and crime; water; cost of living and inflation; and education.

Keppler is asking the public to send questions. They can be submitted here.

(GV Wire/David Rodriguez)

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email