Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
KPBS Midday Edition

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

Congressional candidate Doug Applegate talks to students at a Democratic event at UC San Diego.
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?
Who's Doug Applegate, The Political Newbie Narrowly Trailing Darrell Issa?GUEST: Col. Doug Applegate

My next guest is the Democratic challenger retired -- Marine Colonel Doug Applegate. You support Hillary Clinton for president, many people refer to her as a flawed candidate. Do you agree? I don't agree. I'm looking at things as a veteran. I know one thing, Donald Trump is unqualified to be the Commander-in-Chief of the United States armed forces. I've talked to my peers and mentors, no presidential candidate has frightened the military more than Donald Trump. Darrell Issa believes that Donald Trump is the obvious choice. On the day that Donald Trump's Access Hollywood vignette came out, Darrell was named to the national Security Council for Donald. I just think that speaks to a complete disregard of what the military does and where we should be headed as a country. To your ideas about how to proceed against ISIS differ in any way from what you've heard from Hillary Clinton? To the extent that involves US boots on the ground, that is going to be something that I will be very critical of and it will depend on the situation and the terrain. Right now, it's a fluid situation with respect to ISIS. Next week, it will be a different situation. I think it's about who we partner with. It's easy to partner with someone who just wants to kill the same people we would like to see dead. That's not the way the problems will be solved. That's been the case since. Doug Applegate, it was revealed that a restraining order against you was requested and granted to your wife, during her divorce 10 years ago. Now that the issue of respect for women has taken on a new importance in this campaign, how do you explain the incident? First of all, the way Darrell Issa has handled this is shameful and cowardly. He knows my wife and I work through things, the court process played out and everything was dismissed. We raised two wonderful kids. My wife, from the beginning addressed that issue on the same day it came out in the press. While I was in Washington and while Darrell Issa was in Washington, that had been answered at the end of the day. My wife stated that she was clearly supporting me and reiterated that we had raised two kids together. My children Lauren and René. My son goes to San Diego state and my daughter is a senior at San Clemente high school. They made a video supporting the campaign. Darrell Issa knows this. He is speaking to things out of context. He is not speaking to anything but my family and is misconstruing it. He can't speak to the families out in the 49th and that's largely because he doesn't have a record, he's been a partisan and an obstructionist. He's more than just part of the problem in Washington DC, he's the poster boy for not getting anything done. If you are elected to represent the 49th Congressional District, what would you like to see happen to the nuclear waste that's currently stored at San Onofre I'm glad you asked me. I live in San Clemente. That has been an issue with respect to San Onofre since I got back from Okinawa as a young lieutenant in 1981. You have 380 million pounds of radioactive material that is never been moved from San Onofre. It needs to be moved, it's in the middle of 12 million Southern Californians. It would wreak havoc on the economy of Southern California. My opponent, Darrell Issa, has said he will move the ball because the local townspeople, closest to send and ovary -- Sentinel freight should have public hearings. There are only two ways that radio active material gets moved and that is Congress has to designate either an interim storage site or permanent site. The only people that can move it are the Department of Energy. Holding town meetings is the wrong place to try to solve this problem. Enemies to be solved in Congress, that's the only way it can happen. Darrell is a is ignoring the real solution. He is just saying, I'm holding town meetings and doesn't show up. His only participation is to arrange the meetings and nothing gets done. It needs to be moved, I'm afraid it's a soft terrorist target. One of the major problems in Congress has been an inability to have Democrats and Republicans worked together. Which you work with Republicans who have supported Donald Trump or would you be able to work with Donald Trump as president? That depends upon what solutions they offer. I pointed out a real national security need is what the Marine Corps has been asking for an that's a renewable fuel research project that can allow the Navy and Marine Corps to push out and project power without the heavy peel well controlling logistical lifts. If they start listening to what the real desires are of the Pentagon, I can work with anyone. I like to say, how on earth could a Republican across the aisle, in Congress not agree with me on matters of national security when the Pentagon agrees with what needs to be done. I can work with anyone. Doug Applegate, thank you so much for speaking with us.

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

Advertisement

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.

INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

Advertisement

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.

Explore all national, state and local returns now.