Where's Doris and will she debate?

Katy Grimes: UPDATE: Right after this story published, I received a call back from Rep. Doris Matsui’s office. I asked if they had any campaign events planned, and was told yes. The caller offered to email an invitation to me, but as of today, I still have not received an email from them.

This morning, I heard an interview with Matsui from yesterday, where she was asked if she’d be participating in the debate with Republican candidate Paul Smith. “As far as I am concerned, he’s not a candidate right now,” said Matsui’s. When the interviewer asked how she came to that conclusion since Smith won the primary, Matsui said, “It’s in the paper.”

The arrogance Matsui exhibits demonstrates her attitude of the congressional seat she inhereted from her husband Bob, who had been legitimately elected and was much admired in the 5th congressional district.

Doris is no Bob Matsui, and should be unceremoniously booted from office this election.

OCT. 12, 2010: The November election is just around the corner and there are other important political races besides Whitman v. Brown and Fiorina v. Boxer, despite the unending and usually irrelevant media coverage of illegal immigrant housekeepers, slurs, yachts and lofty titles.

There is really big news in California’s 5th Congressional District, which currently is held by Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento. Doris is missing in action. No one in the district has seen Doris for years… well, maybe only for months.

Matsui’s campaign, if it can be called that with a straight face, is practically non-existent. She has a Matsui-for-Congress website, but there is virtually nothing on it.  Under the “Newsroom, Press Releases and more…” category, there is nothing but a link to endorsements. No issues, no positions – just a bio and photo gallery.

When I called her office at 9:30 a.m. today, an answering machine answered the call. By 10:30 I still hadn’t received a call back. And this is not the first time I’ve called and gotten the recording during business hours.

Her campaign email address is to a gmail account – free from Google.

Matsui’s opponent, Paul Smith, is running for the second time against Matsui. The first campign was a slaughter, but expected in a race with an entrenched Washington politician and an unknown local guy.

However, Smith has gained a head of steam this election cycle. Reminiscent of Chuck DeVore’s campaign for U.S. Senate, Smith is putting the miles on his car, and speaking everywhere he is invited. People in the region now know who he is, and the platform he’s running on.

Smith has even received an endorsement from Michael Reagan, son of late President Ronald Reagan, and will be releasing radio ads with Reagan soon.

Recently Smith held a rally at the Capitol. He wasn’t giving out free food, so the usual bused-in rally crowd wasn’t there, but a decent sized group showed up. Smith asked if anyone had seen Matsui, because  he said, she’s not in Sacramento, and no one has seen her lately.

Smith told me and that he and several of the district’s constituents have called her office and asked about her campaign. They were told by the Congresswoman’s staff that Matsui doesn’t need to run a campaign, and wouldn’t be making any appearances.

Today, Smith delivered an invitation to a debate, to Matsui at the campaign office. If she does agree to a debate, let’s hope that it’s not as scripted as her last townhall meeting, which was a sham, and should have left her embarrassed.

Smith is campaigning as a conservative, running on the painfully current issues of a broken budget, the economy, government health care, and immigration.

Smith said he wants to halt government spending and supports PAYGO, which requires any new spending to be offset with debt reductions, which he says, “was instituted to stop the increased debt load our government was placing on its citizens.”

“In Sacramento, we received a stimulus check of $300 million, yet the unemployment rate rose after we received the money and funds continued to be sucked from high taxes. My opponent made sure her developer friends got huge sums of money but did nothing to stimulate the economy. The money meant to uplift the local economy did nothing to create jobs,” said Smith.

As controversial as the ellusive stimulus money, Matsui has been embroiled in the past in questionable land  investments and tax issues.

Open Congress reported that Rep. Doris Matsui was under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics for accepting a tax break on her Maryland residence after claiming it as her primary residence. Maryland law provides a tax break to home owners with primary residences in the state. Matsui is, however, a resident of the State of California and must retain a primary residence within her congressional district. Despite this, the complaint against Matsui was dismissed.

Matsui’s received deserved criticism when she announced her plan to run for her late husband Robert Matsui’s congressional seat, seemingly merely moments after his funeral. Shortly thereafter, her investment portfolio was scrutinized and documents revealed Matsui made a quick $214,000 profit over two years on her investment in two land projects owned by developer Angelo Tsakopoulos — one in North Natomas, and the other in El Dorado Hills. Tsakopoulos  is a major contributor to Democrat candidates, and as expected, one of Matsui’s ardent supporters.

This is the classic case of the little local business guy up against the political machine. Does Smith have a chance? I don’t know. But he has so many little guys cheering him on, that he could ride this current tidal wave of anti-incumbent sentiment, right to Washington. Maybe Mr. Smith will go to Washington.

OCT. 12, 2010

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