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Who’s Doug Applegate, The Political Newbie Narrowly Trailing Darrell Issa?

Photo caption:

Photo by Matthew Bowler

Congressional candidate Doug Applegate talks to students at a Democratic event at UC San Diego.

Who's Doug Applegate, The Political Newbie Narrowly Trailing Darrell Issa?


Col. Doug Applegate


Doug Applegate, a retired Marine colonel and a political newbie, was unknown in the 49th Congressional District until this year.

When polls first began to show that he was narrowly trailing his opponent, incumbent Darrell Issa, the Democratic National Committee began to support him.

Polling has shown each candidate up and down. In the June primary, Applegate came within a few points of Issa.

The 49th Congressional District includes Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista and San Clemente.

Applegate joined KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday. Hear Midday Edition's interview with Issa here.


On why he's running for Congress

Because of what I've done before. I've had the honor of serving in the Marine Corps since 1974 — once a Marine, always a Marine. The thing that I like about the Marine Corps is we were always Democrats, Republicans or no party preference, independents, but it never made a difference to the mission. It never made a difference on how we approach problems. We got things done even though we might've been placed in situations where it was difficult because some things weren't as thought out as they should've been.

So I thought more than ever — in this particular era, in this particular election — that an outsider with an appreciation of what goes on after Congress makes its decisions would have a better opportunity to give perspective and to get to solutions.

On some people's view that Hillary Clinton is "a flawed candidate"

I don't agree with that assessement.

On Donald Trump

I'm looking at things as a veteran. I know one thing: Donald Trump is wholly unqualified to be the commander in chief of the United States armed forces. I've talked to my peers and mentors, flag and general officers and no presidential candidate has frightened, I think, the military more than Donald Trump.

On vetting Syrian refugees

They're getting an awful lot of vetting already. I mean, first of all, this is not a new process for the Department of the United States military in conflict areas. ... I'm confident from past experiences, with vetting refugees in combat areas, that it can be done.

On the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station

I live in San Clemente and that has been an issue with respect to San Onofre, or SONGS, since I got back from Okinawa as a young lieutenant in 1981. You have 380 million pounds of radioactive fuel rods that have never been moved from San Onofre. It needs to be moved because it's in the middle of 12 million Southern Californians. It would wreak havoc on the economy of Southern California.

On climate change

The Navy already has a plan that Congress is voting against, the Republicans in Congress are voting against. Darrell Issa showing no leadership with no respect to what the Navy and what the Marine Corps want: to protect installations along the shore.

The other thing that needs to be addressed is what the Navy and the Marine Corps have been asking for in the last 10 years. They've been going up to the Hill — pounding on doors, pounding on tables — wanting a Manhattan Project-style research program for renewable fuels. That's what needs to be done and the Republicans and Darrell Issa have been ignoring the Navy and the Marine Corps. We need renewable fuel projects and technology and San Diego and Southern California needs to lead the way.

On the struggle of Democrats and Republicans working together in Congress

I can work with anyone — as long as we're headed towards the right solution.

Election 2020 news coverage


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