Congressional race in San Diego takes macabre turn

Oct. 29, 2012

By Chris Reed

In the 52nd congressional district, San Diego’s small-government conservatives don’t have all too much to cheer for.

Incumbent Brian Bilbray was part of the 1994 “Contract for America” class of House Republicans who betrayed supporters by turning into blithe big spenders when the Internet boom filled up federal coffers. Democratic challenger Scott Peters, however, is a piece of work — a very well-educated lawyer who tried to blame his central role in San Diego’s pension crisis on the bad advice of his staff. Peters stands for nothing but careerism. The next strong stand he takes will be his first.

I voted for Bilbray without many qualms. But the TV ad he’s started running the last few days that is discussed in this article is as macabre as it gets, and not in a good way.

“Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray is unveiling a new television advertisement featuring an impassioned plea from his 25-year-old daughter to support her father so he can continue to push for cancer research in Washington.

“The campaign ad is likely to attract attention, not all of it positive as some analysts predict viewers may perceive the incumbent as attempting to use his daughter’s battle with cancer to aid his political career.

“The congressman, who plans to spend $250,000 to air the ad beginning Friday, is in a tough re-election fight with Democrat Scott Peters.

“Briana Bilbray was diagnosed with Stage 3 melanoma at age 24 and has become an outspoken advocate for early detection of the disease and the virtues of medical marijuana that she believes soothed her during chemotherapy.

“In the ad, she says her father is bringing both political parties together in the fight against cancer.

“’He’s nationally recognized for his efforts and says it’s the most important thing he’ll ever do,; she says. Several recognitions for the congressman’s work then flash across the screen. ‘I believe him. He’s my dad,’ she adds.

She says the cancer gives her only a 20 percent chance of survival.

“’My dad’s work might not save me, but it could save others,’ she says.

“Then comes the ad’s final line: ‘I’m Brian Bilbray and I approve this ad because some things are more important than politics.'” 

Wow. I hope Briana Bilbray beats the odds, but if I were an undecided voter, this sort of crude appeal would turn me off. The story doesn’t mention that she calls herself a “terminal” cancer patient. Grim stuff.


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  1. Luis Alvarado
    Luis Alvarado 29 October, 2012, 09:57

    I think Bilbray is brave in allowing his daughter to be part of the contrast in the campaign. Being an elected official is more than just discussing Taxes and spending. But understanding that one has to be human first. Bilbray is taking a risk that I hope San Diego will reward with their vote. Because the one thing we need in Washington is out of the box leaders who take risks to stand for what is right.

    Reply this comment
  2. Dawn Wildman
    Dawn Wildman 29 October, 2012, 12:51

    While I applaud the Congressman’s strange way of bringing people’s attention to the issue of skin cancer as a skin cancer survivor, I am worried about his wanting to use ObamaCare funds for the research. Which means he will eventually vote FOR keeping ObamaCare.

    I feel very badly for his daughter and I imagine she and even the Congressman have the best of intentions it really is a strange thing to do with this ad. I want him to help with this research but in a fiscally conservative manner not just throw money at this issue, not caring where it comes from.

    Reply this comment
  3. Jonathan West
    Jonathan West 29 October, 2012, 13:09

    I’ve talked with Mr. Bilbray more than once and have become familiar with his work and his problems. This reporter is offering a rather limited, incomplete view of the actual facts.

    Does he report this way very often? I certainly hope not.

    Reply this comment
  4. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 29 October, 2012, 15:55

    One man’s brave is another man’s pimping, Luis.

    Reply this comment
  5. Chris Reed
    Chris Reed 30 October, 2012, 23:33

    Hey, Jonathan West:



    This Reporter

    Reply this comment
  6. Rosie Benitez
    Rosie Benitez 31 October, 2012, 08:51

    I think it’s awful he is [using] his daughter for his career. Considering that 75% of republicans vow to over turn Obamabcare leads me to only believe that this is just another ploy. Since cancer struck our family the last thing I would be doing is running for a political position but instead be at my daughters side and volunteer for non-profit organizations.

    Reply this comment
  7. DJ De Oliva
    DJ De Oliva 2 November, 2012, 21:19

    I have read that Brianna has Stage 3 Melanoma. Unlike other cancers Melanoma has 5 stages not 3. The 3rd stage is: If a patient is diagnosed with Stage III melanoma, it means that cancer has spread to one or more of the lymph nodes or that these infected lymph nodes may be joined or “matted” together. This stage could also mean that the cancer has been found in a lymph vessel between the starting point of the tumor and the lymph node, or that small tumors have been found on or under the skin within 2 centimeters of the original tumor. Stage 4 is when the tumor has metastasized to vital organs, and Stage 5 indicates very low chance of recovery. WHY ARE THEY CALLING STAGE 3 TERMINAL?

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BilbrayChris ReedcongressSan DiegoScott Peters

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