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Three challengers hope to unseat Richardson in district race

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Staff Writer

Three people are hoping to unseat Congresswoman Laura Richardson (D-37th District) in the November election. Two of them claim to have the best chance of defeating Richardson, who has been plagued by media reports of her mismanagement of personal finances and her excessive use of government perks supplied to elected officials at the expense of taxpayers.
“The voters know and trust me more than they do the other two challengers,” said Peter Mathews, who received about 6,000 votes in the June primary. “In a recent poll, 53 percent of the people who responded said they believed I had a good chance of defeating Richardson.”
Mathews, a professor of American government at Cypress College, and Lee Davis, the former publisher of the Wrigley Bulletin both began campaigning for the 37th District seat a few weeks ago. Davis also ran in the primary and received about 2,000 votes. The problem both candidates face is that their names will not appear on the ballot.
Not letting that disadvantage stop them, both are planning on filing as write-in candidates, but they cannot do so until the second week of September at the earliest. To file, they must each get a minimum of 40 signatures validated by the Los Angeles County Registrar of voters.
“I am not going to have a problem getting the signatures,” Mathews said, “Hundreds of people are calling my office and asking me to run.”
The other challenger to Richardson’s reelection, Nick Dibs, recently collected 7, 997 signatures verified by the Registrar’s office on a petition to place his name on the ballot— 218 more than he needed. “I am the only candidate challenging Richardson who will appear on the ballot,” he said. “Everyone knows that write-in candidates almost always lose, so I am hoping that Mr. Mathews and Ms. Davis will come to the conclusion that they need to drop out of the race and support me in my effort to defeat the Congresswoman who has shamed the people of the 37th District.”
Not a chance, Mathews insisted. “I am not a quitter,” he said. “I commend Nick Dibs for getting so many signatures, but those signatures are not pledges to vote for him.” Mathews also disagreed with Dibs’ assessment of the likelihood of winning a write-in campaign. “Former Long Beach Mayor Beverly O’Neill won a write-in campaign, and I can give you the names of several write-in candidates that were elected to Congress,” he said. “Given the fact that so many voters are disgusted by Ms. Richardson’s behavior and the fact that I am so well known in the district, I would say that I have a very good chance to win this election.”
Mathews noted that he has a long history of being a community organizer that fights for the rights of the people in this region and he is also a well known political analyst that has spoken on live radio and television shows in the area for many years. “The people know I care about them, and they know I have expertise in the political arena,” he stressed. “The voters are begging for someone to represent them whom they can trust and who knows how to get things done in Washington, and I think they realize I fit both of those descriptions.”
Dibs disagreed. “I have a long history of community activism, which includes helping the average person in need and leading two delegations to Washington D.C. that presented civil and human rights concerns to the State Department,” he said. “We met with several members of Congress as well as one of the under secretaries of state.”
Both Dibs and Mathews strongly oppose the war in Iraq and both support education reform. “We agree on a lot of issues,” Dibs noted. “The real issue is that I am the only one besides Richardson on the ballot. I believe that if Peter Mathews and Lee Davis continue to pursue their write-in campaigns, that will just divide the voters and will actually help Richardson get reelected.”
During the past week, the Signal Tribune made several phone calls and sent several emails to the offices of Richardson and Davis, requesting their comments on the upcoming election. As of press time, neither one of them had responded to the newspaper’s messages.

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Three challengers hope to unseat Richardson in district race