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August 25, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) -- After 11 days of fasting, Democratic Congressional Candidate Ray Lutz announced Monday that after founding a new national organization (Debate for Democracy) to carry on the fight for congressional debates in districts nationwide, he will end his fast. eat. Libertarian candidate Michael Benoit has also resumed eating.



“I just made a few phone calls, and immediately realized this was a national problem,” said Lutz, who lost 16 pounds. “Congressman Hunter isn't the only incumbent ducking debates. But he might be the only combat veteran afraid to face his opponent.”


Hunter has agreed to one debate in mid-October sponsored by the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce. But he has declined to debate Lutz before absentee ballots are mailed in early October. In San Diego County, 60% of voters cast absentee ballots.

Lutz’s new non-partisan organization, , was founded after Lutz encountered other congressional challengers who faced incumbents who were also hesitant to engage in formal debates. Citizens, candidates and incumbents alike are invited to sign a pledge to support debates in their districts and if they are candidates, to debate their opponents an adequate number of times in locations that ensure most constituents will have the opportunity to attend and ask questions.


Already there are Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Greens as who have taken the pledge. The organization will research options for promoting debates in every district in the country, using the bright shining light of public review involving the creation of a Commission on Congressional Debates (CCD), or perhaps enhancing the role of the Federal Election Commission.


Rick Tubbs, Republican challenger in California's 7th Congressional District and a Debate for Democracy pledge-taker, said, “Debates between candidates are the best way to inform the voters about where those trying to represent them stand on the issues. There is no big money involved, just the candidates standing on their own making their case to the voter.”


“Election debates are a traditional part of the American process. They go all the way back to Lincoln,” said Lutz. “It's an effective way to help voters see where there candidates stand on this issues – and that strengthens our republic.”



Lutz, whose fast lasted longer than Gandhi's 1932 starvation, ate his first regular meal on Monday, August 23. He had been phasing back into nourishment with some vegetable broth and a bit of fruit over the weekend.


The Lutz for Congress campaign advises anyone who wants to “hunger strike” to lose weight to make sure they consult with a doctor and be very careful how they end the fast. Complete abstinence from food can be dangerous.

For more information on Ray Lutz for Congress, visit:


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