Blue versus blue: The open primary debate

Mark Sheppard

Photos by Andy Nguyen/TIMES STAFF
Photo illustration by Mark Sheppard/TIMES STAFF

With an open primary, Californian Democrats could run two candidates, with no republican opposition. The two candidates, Joe Coto and Jim Beall, ran on similar platforms. Very few issues discerned these two candidates from each other as far as policies are concerned.

A field survey after the debate showed the popularity of the two candidates evenly split among the attendants.

The debate was held in the Technology Center of San Jose City College, and the candidates both continuously listed education as a major concern.

The audience was made up of SJCC students and people from the surrounding neighborhood. The Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Association moderated the event.

With a lot of overlapping answers, the candidates took the opportunity to answer yes or no questions with long-winded speeches about their personal back stories, delving into who they are and where they’ve come from. Beall took the time to remind the audience that he grew up working in the fields.

However, after the debate, Coto’s wife clarified that “he couldn’t work in the fields; he’s too tall.”

These are two different people running on a similar policy platform. They took this opportunity as one of the last debates before the election to instill the voters with a sense of who they are.

They were campaigning on their stories, not the issues.

There was very little mud slinging during the debate, but the campaign was different.

When asked if their campaigns were clean, Beall answered yes, but Coto rebutted, saying that Beall ran a smear campaign, full of “misinformation” and “racism.”

Coto cited an ad published by Beall’s campaign in which a low rider car was illustrated with bullet holes. With similar responses on issues regarding women’s rights, housing and education, the “smear” ad stood out.

Beall refused a post-debate interview. When asked about partisanship in state senate, in a post-debate interview, Coto said, “You have to work with everyone.”