Beth Krom and her supporters arrived at the 48th Congressional District Debate hosted at Crystal Cove Auditorium on Wednesday, Oct. 13 with no Republican candidate in sight.
Organized by UC Irvine’s political student organizations, the debate featured Democrat Beth Krom, supported by the College Democrats, all of whom were gathered outside in a large crowd at the entrance to the auditorium. Libertarian candidate Mike Binkley was also in attendance. A cardboard cutout of Republican candidate John Campbell took his place, standing next to an empty table where the College Republicans were supposed to meet.
During the debate, Krom’s statements were followed by thunderous applause as students and supporters voiced their concurrence with whooping cheers.
“If I get elected, we will have a seat at the table in Washington,” spoke Krom as she addressed the crowd, “And I always say that if you’re not at the table, then you’re on the menu.”
Krom’s platform supports public education and innovation, environmental preservation and health care reforms. She became involved in the political arena in 2000 when she ran for city council in opposition to the building of an international airport at the former El Toro Marine Corp Air Station. She won the election and was re-elected in 2002. She later ran for two terms as mayor of Irvine, and won both elections, serving a total of four years before running for city council after her terms were over.
Her opponent in this year’s race is the current Republican incumbent, John Campbell.
“Well, when I was the mayor of Irvine for four years, John Campbell never once came to city hall,” Krom said. “He never once attended public events. He never once invited me to sit down and talk about our municipal priorities and he couldn’t even be bothered to send a letter of congratulations when Irvine was named the safest city in America for four years in a row. So I knew first-hand that he was not doing the job he was elected to do.”
John Campbell was invited to participate in the 48th Congressional District debate, but for undeclared reasons, he was not present.
“After I handed the gavel over to the new mayor, I decided that I could either sit there and watch this man win by default or I could run against him because I felt that I had built the kind of credibility that would give me the platform to run,” Krom said. “I do feel that we now are seen as a very strong campaign.”
Krom continued to differ herself from Campbell.
“What I offer that the incumbent doesn’t is a record of actually having accomplishing things,” Krom said. “I have spent my time — the same 10 years that he has been in public office, I have been in public office. He never actually had to run a campaign to win any of his seats. I had to run tough races, and I feel that the public, by electing me with almost 60 percent of the vote in my second race for mayor and in the 2008 city council race, where I came in first place with more than 8,000 votes more than the 2nd place winner, the community has conveyed to me that they appreciate the effort that I put in, that they appreciate the fact that I work directly with the community, that I work without consideration for people’s partisan registration. I’ve said from the very beginning that this campaign is not about partisanship. It’s about leadership.”
With Election Day coming up quickly on Nov. 2, the race intensifies as all parties reach out for voters.
“People are rooting for us,” Krom said. “And if everybody gets out and vote on Election Day, I think there’s a good chance that we are going to make history here in the 48th Congressional District.”