The three leading candidates looking to represent California's District 3 in the U.S. House of Representatives shared the stage Tuesday night at a debate hosted by KCRA 3 and CapRadio.
The debate featured Democrat Kermit Jones, a doctor from Roseville; Republican Scott Jones, the Sacramento County sheriff; and Republican Kevin Kiley, a member of the state Assembly who currently represents parts of El Dorado, Placer and Sacramento counties.
CapRadio's Insight will replay the debate Wednesday at 9 a.m.
CapRadio State Politics Reporter Nicole Nixon and KCRA 3 Anchor Edie Lambert moderated the debate, asking candidates about how they would address rising prices for consumers, climate change, the drought impacting California, and other issues.
Disinformation loomed large over the conversation. When asked if President Joe Biden "was legitimately elected president in 2020," both Kiley and Scott Jones would not answer yes.
"Look, there's a political answer, but there's my honest answer," Scott Jones said. "My honest answer is, I don't know. It depends who you watch, which newscast you watch. But I know there's a lot of people that are confused enough and don't know the answer to that question."
Courts and secretaries of state across the country have not made any findings of fraud from the 2020 election.
The debate also came one week after the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where 21 people were killed, including 19 children. When asked why such shootings happen so frequently in the United States, all three candidates did not discuss regulating access to firearms and instead pointed to a need for better mental health screenings and ways to harden schools.
"I think there are people that are becoming disaffected in our society, people that are having access to weapons, that we have a Constitutional right to have, but people that have serious problems and aren't getting the help are using those against their fellow Americans," Kermit Jones said.
On the issue of inflation, Kiley called for fewer regulations on businesses, completing the Keystone Pipeline and limiting the federal budget.
'The federal government has run deficits of nearly $6 trillion over the last couple of years. We're just printing money," Kiliey said. "And so the solution is pretty simple. It's to stop doing that, stop new spending, bring the federal budget to manageable size, and that includes eliminating waste, fraud and abuse, which is absolutely rampant."
Each of the three candidates also said they would not support returning to COVID-19 restrictions on businesses as case rates increase.
U.S. House District 3 does not have an incumbent as it was redrawn in California’s redistricting process.
A contender for the largest district in the state, the new 3rd Congressional District runs from Plumas County’s Lake Almanor in the north to south of Death Valley National Park along the Nevada border. It also includes the more densely populated suburban cities of Rocklin, Roseville and Folsom.
While Republicans outnumber Democratic voters in the new district, former President Donald Trump won among its voters by only 1 percentage point in 2020. Trump has endorsed Kiley in the race.
Nicole Nixon contributed to this report.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the number of counties covered by District 3.
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