Republican businessman Justin Fareed of Santa Barbara is making a third push for election to the 24th Congressional District seat, again challenging Democrat Salud Carbajal, whom he lost to in the November 2016 election.
Fareed, 29, pledged to “fight for the Central Coast in Congress” in announcements Saturday before crowds of supporters in both Santa Barbara and Paso Robles. He filed his statement of candidacy Aug. 16 with the Federal Election Commission.
After nearly winning the seat in 2016, falling short by just over 6.5 percent of the vote, Fareed said district residents had encouraged him to run in 2018 against Carbajal, whom he called an “ineffective career politician.”
Fareed said he raised more than $200,000 in contributions toward a campaign in less than a month from both previous and new supporters.
In the 2016 election, Fareed said the race was not about Republicans vs. Democrats but about changing the status quo and getting Congress working for the people.
In his announcement Saturday, he said his candidacy would be a fresh, independent voice for Central Coast values.
“I’m running to bring a strong voice and independent leadership for Central Coast values,” Fareed said. “Our community needs and deserves someone who will stand strong for our interests, not a bought-and-paid-for career politician who votes with Nancy Pelosi more than 97 percent of the time.”
He added, “Voters want someone who will put their interests above all else, and serving our district will be my top priority. I will be the Central Coast's workhorse in Congress and ensure a better future for our district and the future of this great country.”
During his announcements, Fareed listed the issues he believes are important to the Central Coast that he will focus on if elected, including a system to ensure an adequate long-term water supply, a reduction in regulations that stifle the economy, a flatter and fairer tax code, and improved support for law enforcement.
“In Congress, I will support streamlining investments into 21st century solutions like desalination, state-of-the-art water treatment facilities and increasing capacity in current reservoirs to address our state’s continual drought crisis,” he said.
Fareed said “onerous regulations” are forcing businesses to move out of the area and preventing young people who were born and raised here from staying and earning a living.
“I will ensure out-of-date regulations are updated and unnecessary regulations are rolled back so we can grow our economy and offer the next generation a chance to live, work and raise a family on the Central Coast,” he said.
As for taxes, he pledged to “make sure taxpayers are able to keep more of their hard-earned dollars and hold bureaucrats accountable for properly allocating taxpayer dollars to programs that will better our community.”
Fareed also focused on what he called Carbajal’s lack of leadership and effectiveness since his election to Congress as well as during his previous service on the County Board of Supervisors.
“His votes against law enforcement, our veterans and water infrastructure in Congress are indefensible,” he said. “Poor choices like these are not what we should expect from those who represent us. He has a lot to answer for.”
He also cited Carbajal’s vote against the Grow Act that would streamline the permit process to get water to Californians statewide.
He said the county experienced its greatest increase in income disparity while Carbajal was a supervisor and that burdens on the middle class will get worse if he remains in office.
Fareed has set up a campaign contributions page at www.efundraisingconnections.com/c/JustinFareed2016/default.aspx?eid=558.
Born and raised on the Central Coast, Fareed is a third-generation California rancher who first ran for the 24th District seat in 2014 but was eliminated in the primary election, when Republican candidate Chris Mitchum went on to challenge incumbent Democrat Lois Capps in the November general election.
Capps retired from the 24th District seat at the end of 2015 after serving in that post since 1998 when she won a special election following the death of her husband, Walter, just nine months into his term as the district’s representative.
With Capps’ retirement leaving the seat open, Fareed and Carbajal battled it out in the 2016 election, with Carbajal ultimately winning.
Carbajal carried Santa Barbara County, garnering 98,887 votes to Fareed’s 74,423. But Fareed was more popular in San Luis Obispo County, where he pulled in 68,710 votes to Carbajal’s 64,718.