California Target Book

24th Congressional District

Lois Capps (D)

First Elected: 1998


President '08
President '12
U.S. Senator '12
Congress '12
Obama (D)
McCain (R)
Obama (D-Inc)
Romney (R)
Feinstein D-Inc
Emken (R)
Capps (D-Inc)
Maldonado (R)
Governor '10
Governor '14
Secretary of State '14
Congress '14
Brown (D)
Whitman (R)
Brown (D-Inc)
Kashkari (R)
Padilla (D)
Peterson (R)
Capps (D-Inc)
Mitchum (R)

LOCATION: All of San Luis Obispo County (42% of district’s voters); all of Santa Barbara County (56%); and a small slice of the city of Ventura in Ventura County (2%). DISTRICT MAP | DISTRICT PROFILE

ETHNIC POPULATION (2010 Census): Latino 34%; Asian 4%; Black 2%; White (non-Hispanic) 57%

VOTER REGISTRATION (Jul '16) Dem 39.57%; Rep 33.14%; NPP 22.24% - Total Voters 365,062
    Permanent vote-by-mail voters: 58%
    Ethnic voter registration: Latino 17%; Asian 3%


P12: Dem 38.42%; Rep 35.37%; NPP 20.63%; TURNOUT: 46.11%; Total Registered: 340,632
G12: Dem 38.36%; Rep 34.59%; NPP 21.46%; TURNOUT: 78.65%; Total Registered: 356,852
P14: Dem 37.74%; Rep 34.11%; NPP 22.44%; TURNOUT: 38.95%; Total Registered: 350,260
G14: Dem 37.60%; Rep 33.44%; NPP 23.15%; TURNOUT: 57.69%; Total Registered: 345,879

Born: January 10, 1938
Committees and caucus memberships

LOIS CAPPS was elected to replace her late husband, Walter Capps, in Congress in a 1998 Special Election (see incumbent’s election history below). Prior to that election, she spent twenty years as a nurse and health advocate for the Santa Barbara School District.       

She worked as director of Santa Barbara County’s Teenage Pregnancy and Parenting Project and the Parent and Child Enrichment Center. She also taught for ten years as a part-time instructor of Early Childhood Education at Santa Barbara City College.


CAMPAIGN 2016: This is a slightly Democratic-leaning seat that is nonetheless competitive. Incumbent Democratic Rep. Lois Capps's announcement that she was retiring set off a scrum with a crowd of candidates jockeying for position in the race to succeed her. Four Democrats, three Republicans, and two No Party Preference candidates ran in the primary, with both the NRCC and the DCCC investing heavily to influence the outcome. The top vote-getter was Democrat Salud Carbajal, a 12-year Santa Barbara Supervisor who received the backing of most of the Democratic establishment along with the official endorsement from the CA Democratic Party. June 30th FEC reports show Carbajal raising nearly $2.2 million, with another $454,000 in supportive spending coming from the DCCC. The NRCC and the CA Republican Party remained neutral with the Republican candidates, but spent big on attacking the Democratic candidates (including at least one 'negative' mailer directed at a low-polling and underfunded Democrat using lines of attack that were thinly-veiled attempts to boost his appeal among progressives and sap votes away from the stronger Democratic candidates). While they were unable to muddy the waters enough to engineer a same-party Republican runoff, they were able to prevent a same-party Democratic election. Republican Justin Fareed, a small businessman/rancher who previously ran here in 2014, raised over $1.2 million and took the number two spot with 20.45%. Fareed also received $286,000 in supportive independent expenditure spending from the Citizen Super PAC. Republican Asm. Katcho Achadjian took the number three spot with 18.14% after raising and spending early $900,000. Democrat Helene Schneider, the Mayor of Santa Barbara, raised $653,000 and finished fourth with 14.93%. Democrat Bill Ostrander, a farmer and non-profit director, reported raising $68,000 and finished a distant fifth with 6.09%. Perennial Republican candidate Matt Kokkonen loaned his campaign $210,000 but spent little before the primary and took the number six spot with 5.6%. No Party Preference candidate John Uebersax, a social scientist and anti-war writer, reported raising no money and took 1.05%. No Party Preference candidate Steve Isakson, a businessman and electronics engineer, raised $45,000 and spent $14,000 to finish eighth with 1.04%. Democrat Benjamin Lucas, a design consultant, reported raising no money and finished ninth with 0.75%.

In a primary race dominated by progressive Democrats (Bernie Sanders took this district by 5.9% over Hillary Clinton) and high turnout of at least 57.27%, the Republican candidates combined to receive 44.19% of the votes, and the 91,856 total dramatically outpaced the 69,560 votes cast in the GOP Presidential Primary. The Democratic side saw 116,473 votes cast for Presidential candidates and 111,647 for the Democratic congressional candidates. While the fundamentals give the edge to Carbajal in November, the 27-year old Fareed has become a more effective campaigner since his 2014 run and should not be underestimated. To date, he has remained non-committal on whether he intends to support GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump. Carbajal holds a cash on hand edge of $630,000 to Fareed's $293,000, but any fundraising advantage is likely to be drowned out by what is certain to be massive IE spending by both national party congressional committees and other outside groups as the GOP fights to defy the odds and flip a blue seat into their column.

2016 Primary Ballot

Katcho Achadjian (R) Small Businessman/Assemblyman
Salud Carbajal (D) Santa Barbara County Supervisor
Justin Fareed (R) Small Businessman/Rancher
Steve Isakson (NPP) Electronics Engineer/Businessman
Matt Kokkonen (R) Financial Planner/Businessman
Benjamin Lucas (D) Design Consultant
Bill Ostrander (D) Farmer/Non-Profit Director
Helene Schneider (D) Mayor of Santa Barbara
John Uebersax (NPP) Social Scientist/Biostatistician/Anti-War Writer


 (D) is a member of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, elected in March 2004, reelected in June 2012. Carbajal formerly served as chief of staff to the previous supervisor, Naomi Schwartz. Carbajal was raised in Arizona, where his father moved the family from Mexico to work in the copper mine. His family later moved to Oxnard, where he graduated from High School. He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara, received a master’s in Organizational Management from the Fielding University and served eight years in the Marine Corps Reserve, including active duty in the 1991 Gulf War. He and his wife, Gina, have two children. ENDORSEMENTS: Rep. Lois Capps, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, CA Attorney General Kamala Harris, the Democratic Party chairs of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties, and the Democratic Women of Santa Barbara County. Media Consultant: AKPD Message & Media; Fundraising: Jen Cooper, Monica Intaglietta (C&I Consulting); Research: VR Research; Direct Mail: American Direct Mail

View Carbajal's YouTube Channel here

TV Spots: Common GroundValues  Veterans Can't Wait

HELENE SCHNEIDER (D), the mayor of Santa Barbara, announced her candidacy the same day Capps announced her decision not to seek reelection. Schneider was elected mayor in 2009 and is now serving her second term. She was first elected as a councilmember in 2003. Prior to elected office, she spent eleven years in human management at Planned Parenthood of Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties. She received her bachelor’s from Skidmore College and her professional designation in Human Resources Management from UC Santa Barbara Extension. ENDORSEMENTS: Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, State Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson, Asm. Richard Bloom, former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Gruel, National Organization for Women (NOW), and several local elected officials and community leaders. Campaign Manager: Dave Jacobson; Campaign consultants: Mark Putnam, John Shallman; polling Celinda Lake.

View Scheider's YouTube Channel here

TV Spots: Garage

BILL OSTRANDER (D), a San Luis Obispo cattle farmer, developer and former TV and film actor, is the Director of Citizens’ Congress, a national organization that advocates for campaign finance reform. He announced his candidacy prior to Capps' retirement announcement. He has done humanitarian work in Africa and spent 33 years in the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. As a contractor, he built the government building in Paso Robles.

View Ostrander's YouTube Channel here

JUSTIN FAREED (R) ran for this seat in 2014, coming in third behind Capps and Chris Mitchum in the June Top Two Primary (see below). Shortly before, he had returned from Washington, D.C., where he served as a legislative aide to U.S. Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Fareed was born and raised in Santa Barbara and attended Santa Barbara High School, where he was captain of the football team. At UCLA, where he also played football, he earned a bachelor's in Political Science. Shortly after graduation he joined the university's coaching staff, before moving to Washington DC. Fareed is a third generation cattle rancher and vice president of his family's Santa Barbara based small business, which manufactures and distributes medical devices to help relieve pain and prevent repetitive stress injuries. U.S. Sen. John McCain has endorsed Fareed. Campaign Manager: Kayla Berube; Political Consultants: The Pluvious Group (Matthew Jubitz)

View Fareed's YouTube Channel here

TV Spots: Next Generation Conservative • Let's Fix the Pipe

MATT KOKKONEN (R) is a perennial candidate who ran for the assembly seat representing San Luis Obispo in 2004 and 2010 (see AD35), for Congress in 2008, and for Treasurer/Tax Collector of San Luis Obispo County in 2006. A financial planner and the principal of Matt Kokkonen Insurance and Financial Services since 1969, he has served as a guest lecturer at Cal Poly SLO, as President of the Professional Financial Services Societies, and as an elected member of the San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County, and Ventura County Republican Central Committees. He holds a bachelor's in Philosophy from Westmont College and two masters degrees in Financial Planning and Management from American College. Born in Helsinki, Finland, he immigrated to America on his own in 1962 at the age of 16. He resides in San Luis Obispo with his wife, Jean. They have two grown children.

View Kokkonen's YouTube Channel here

KHATCHIK "KATCHO" ACHADJIAN (R) is a member of the state Assembly (AD35), elected in 2010 and will be termed out in 2016. An Armenian American, he was born in Lebanon and moved to the United States in 1971 to attend college. Achadjian graduated from Cal Poly SLO in 1976 with a bachelor’s in Business.  After graduation, he bought a local gas station, where he had been employed while he was in college (he now owns three stations). He became a U.S. citizen in 1982. He was first elected to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors in 1998. In 2006, he was appointed to the CA Coastal Commission by Gov. Schwarzenegger. He and his wife, Araxie, have two children and reside in Pismo Beach.ENDORSEMENTS: every current GOP member of the state assembly, former Asm./S.B. Supervisor Brooks Firestone, Santa Barbara City Councilman Dale Francisco – who is also chair of the Santa Barbara County Republican Party – and Chris Mitchum, who challenged Capps in 2014.  Finance Chairman: Karl Wittstrom.


View Achadjian's YouTube Channel here

TV Spots: Change Washington

STEVE ISAKSON (NPP) is a Chief Engineer at Rantec Power Systems. He previously ran for this seat in 2014, finishing 8th in the primary with 0.9% of the vote. He holds a bachelor's in Physics and a masters in Computer Science from from California Polytechnic-San Luis Obispo, and a Ph.D in Electrical and Computer Engineering from UC-Santa Barbara.

BENJAMIN LUCAS (D )is a former bartender and carpenter who is running on a platform of energy, infrastructure, and education. A former worker at the Three Mile Island nuclear facility in his home state of Pennsylvania, he is an advocate for decommissioning 70s-era nuclear power facilities and replacing them with more modern designs. He resides in Montecito.

JOHN UEBERSAX (NPP) is a biostatistician and anti-war writer. He is the Senior Consultant and principal at John Uebersax Enterprises, offering statistical consultation on algorithm development, statistical prediction, and pharmaceutical and biotech research. A former Adjunct Professor of Statistics at California Polytechnic State University, he previously worked as a Principal Statistician for Roche Molecular Systems, as a Senior Statistician for Glaxo Smith Kline, and as Lead Algorithm Scientist for RavenPack. He holds a bachelor's in Psychology from USC and a Ph.D in Behavioral Biostatistics from University of Texas-Austin. He resides in Morro Bay.

Achadjian • Carbajal • Fareed • Isakson • Kokkonen • Lucas • Ostrander • Schneider • Uebersax 

Independent Expenditure Activity (Updated 06-03): TOTAL IE SPENDING $1,435,334.39

House Majority PAC spent $7,106.73 IN OPPOSITION TO Katcho Achadjian

House Majority PAC spent $362,918.93 IN SUPPORT OF Salud Carbajal

DCCC spent $454,884.42 IN SUPPORT OF Salud Carbajal

NRCC spent $110,000.00 IN OPPOSITION TO Salud Carbajal

NRCC spent $110,000.00 IN OPPOSITION TO Helene Schneider

CITIZEN SUPER PAC spent $286,101.60 IN SUPPORT OF Justin Fareed

American Action Network spent $104,322.71 IN OPPOSITION TO Helene Schneider

CAMPAIGN 2014: Nine candidates ran in the June Top Two Primary. Lois Capps was the top vote getter with 44%. Republican Chris Mitchum came in a distant second with 16%.
Justin Fareed, a native of Santa Barbara and until recently a Capitol Hill aide to U.S. Congressman Ed Whitfield (KY) was believed by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) to be the strongest challenger to Capps. But he came in third with 15%, 614 votes behind Mitchum.


The other Republicans were Dale Francisco (12%), a member of the Santa Barbara City Council; Bradley Allen (7%) a physician and husband of actress Jaclyn Smith; and Alexis Stuart (0.5%) an author and small business owner from Nipomo. The two other Democrats were Paul Coyne (2%), a bank manager who is pro-life; and Sandra Marshall (3.5%) an anti-war progressive from San Luis Obispo. Steve Isakson, owner of a small consulting firm, ran as a No Party Preference candidate and received 1%. Primary voter turnout was 38%.
This district has a Democratic bias, but it is not safe. However, Republicans in this district are badly split between varying factions, as was seen in Abel Maldonado’s unsuccessful challenge against Capps in 2012. Mitchum, 70, the son of the late movie star Robert Mitchum and a tea party favorite, ran a bitter campaign against Maldonado in the 2012 Primary.
Following this year’s Primary, the race fell off the radar screens of both the NRCC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), both believing that Mitchum would not be able to mount a competitive race. November FEC reports show him raising $490,000 -- $264,000 coming from his own pocket – and spending $463,000 while Capps reported raising and spending about $2.3 million.
Then, the Mitchum campaign released a poll conducted Oct. 15-16 by Probolsky Research showing Mitchum with a slight 41.5% to 40.5% lead over Capps. The sample of likely voters was based on a projected voter turnout of 58.6%.
The NRCC did not react to the poll, but the DCCC did, spending over $170,000 during the final days of the campaign on radio ads attacking Mitchum, which may have saved their day.
Capps ended up narrowly winning the election 52% to 48%.


  • DCCC spent $170,384 for phone banks and media buys in opposition to Mitchum 
  • American Assn. of Orthopaedic Surgeons PAC spent $68,358 in support of Capps
  • Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund spent $38,710 for TV in support of Capps

CAMPAIGN 2012: Capps sought reelection in a district that was much more competitive than her old district, which had a 20 point Democratic registration advantage. The new registration numbers encouraged former state Asm./Sen./Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado to enter the race. But first he had to outpoll Republican Chris Mitchum. Mitchum spent just over $210,000, of which $160,500 came from his pocket.


Maldonado had angered many GOP conservative activists because he crossed party lines to cast the decisive vote to pass a state budget bill that included higher taxes. In return for that vote, Maldonado was able to get the Senate and Assembly to place the Top Two Primary on the June 2010 ballot (Prop. 14), which was passed by voters. This, too, angered party activists, many of whom, along with Rep. Tom McClintock, who represented portions of this district when he served in the state Senate, and the Santa Barbara County Republican Central Committee, endorsed Mitchum.


The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the political arm of the House GOP Caucus, believing a GOP moderate would be the stronger challenger to Capps, quickly endorsed Maldonado in the Primary. Capps, with 46% of the vote, was the top vote getter in the Primary, followed by Maldonado with 30% and Mitchum with 21.5%. Also on the ballot was Matt Boutté, a 26-year-old law student who ran as a No Party Preference candidate, receiving 2.5%. He did not run a competitive race.


The November runoff became a hard-fought, bitter and high spending race targeted by both political parties.  Several independent expenditure committees also played here, spending a combined $3.2 million for multi-media efforts both in support and opposition to the candidates (view below).

Though the race for Governor and U.S. Senate were very close here in 2010, in 2012 both Obama and Feinstein carried the district by 10 point margins, as did Capps.
Capp’s campaign consultant: Bill Carrick; on site manager: Kris Partt; polling: Peter Hart Research.

DISTRICT PROFILE: This is a very competitive district along California’s Central Coast.  Democrats have a three-point registration advantage and Brown won the district by less than one percentage point in 2010, but 14 points in 2014. The Padilla-Peterson Secretary of State race was very close in this district, as was the Yee-Swearengin contest for Controller.  

CD24  looks very similar to the San Luis Obispo/Santa Barbara Congressional district from the 90’s, represented by Republicans Michael Huffington (1993-1995) and Andrea Seastrand (1995-1997) and then by Democrats Walter Capps (1997) and Lois Capps (1998-present). 

The district includes all of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties and a slice of the city of Ventura in Ventura County.  San Luis Obispo is an agricultural county, an extension in many ways of the Central Valley, four hours from San Francisco and Los Angeles, and more conservative.  Santa Barbara is less than a 2 hour drive to Los Angeles and socially liberal. 


Coastal San Luis Obispo is moderate to liberal, while inland San Luis Obispo is conservative and dominates the county’s politics.  In contrast, Santa Barbara’s liberal coast is more populous than its inland conservative region and it therefore dominates Santa Barbara’s politics.  San Luis Obispo County has about 10,000 more Republicans than Democrats, but Santa Barbara County has nearly 20,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans, creating a district that leans ever so slightly Democratic. 




Updates to District Races (1/27)

With the signatures in lieu of filing fees period now open, the California Target Book has been closely monitoring the daily updates coming from those counties reporting their candidate lists. At the present time, the following districts have been updated with accompanying candidate profiles.


CD20 - Added 2014 candidate Ronald Paul Kabat (NPP), 2010 candidate Joshua Thomas Coulston Miller (Rep), and 2010 candidate Steve Haze (D)
CD24 - Added AD35 candidate Dawn Ortiz-Legg (D) **SEE BELOW
CD44 - Added political unknown Michael De Mauricio (NPP)


NEVADA District 1 - Added Nevada City Councilman Duane Strawser
SANTA BARBARA District 4 - Added Santa Barbara Social Worker Eduardo Ozeta


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Tags: CD20, CD24, CD44, Nevada, Santa Barbara

Updates to District Races (1/22)

With the signatures in lieu of filing fees period now open, the California Target Book has been closely monitoring the daily updates coming from those counties reporting their candidate lists. At the present time, the following districts have been updated with accompanying candidate profiles.


AD05 - Added Greenwood resident Kai Ellsworth (D)
AD18 - Added former Alameda GOP Chair Roseann Slonsky-Breault
AD27 - Added former Santa Clara County Democratic Party Central Committee member David Parker (D)
AD55 - Added 3-time candidate Gregg Fritchle (D)
AD58 - Added Evangelist Ramiro Alvarado (R)


CD24 - Added Nipomo businessman Tyler Gross (R), insurance agent Jeff Oshins (D), biotech statistician John Uebersax (NPP), and political unknown Benjamin Lucas (D)
CD44 - Added teacher/2015 Hawthorne Mayor candidate Analilia Joya


SACRAMENTO District 4 - Added military veteran Gary Lee Burns
SAN BENITO District 1 - Added 2014 AD30/2012 Candidate Mark Starritt and political unknown Mark Medina
TEHAMA District 1 - Added political unknown Richard J. Lawrence

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Tags: AD05, AD18, AD27, AD55, AD58, CD24, CD44, Sacramento, San Benito, Tehama

CD24 (Open Seat) - 3rd GOP Candidate Files

Perennial candidate Matt Kokkonen has joined the race to succeed Rep. Lois Capps, who is retiring from her 24th Congressional District seat in 2016. Kokkonen ran for the assembly seat representing San Luis Obispo in 2004 and 2010 (see AD35), for Congress in 2008, and for Treasurer/Tax Collector of San Luis Obispo County in 2006. A financial planner and the principal of Matt Kokkonen Insurance and Financial Services since 1969, he has served as a guest lecturer at California Polytechnic-San Luis Obispo, as President of the Professional Finanical Services Socieites, and as an elected member of the San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County, and Ventura County Republican Central Committees. He holds a bachelor's in Philosophy from Westmont College and two masters degrees in Financial Planning and Management from American College. Born in Helsinki, Finland, he immigrated to America on his own in 1962 at the age of 16. He resides in San Luis Obispo with his wife, Jean. They have two grown children. Kokkonen faces fellow Republicans Asm. Katcho Achadjian, his 2010 opponent in the GOP primary for AD33 (now AD35), and Justin Fareed, who ran for this seat in 2014 and finished 3rd in the Top Two primary. Both Fareed and Achadjian are listed as 'On The Radar' candidates for the GOP Young Guns list of competitive races, and Fareed has so far exhibited a fairly robust fundraising operation, raising $432K for this cycle at the end of the September 30th filing period. On the Democratic side, Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal has dominated in fundraising with over $1M raised so far, eclipsing the $370K raised by Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider and the $18K raised by cattle farmer Bill Ostrander. This district has a far more pronounced Democratic bias during Presidential election years, but it is not a completely safe seat. For more on this district, click here.

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Tags: CD24, Matt Kokkonen


CD24 (Open Seat) - Francisco Denies Seeking '16 Run, Blames Clerical Error

Santa Barbara Councilman DALE FRANCISCO (R) has rebuffed earlier reports that he would seek the open congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Lois Capps, who is retiring. The Santa Barbara County Republican Party chairman stated that the paperwork submitted to the FEC was intended to be an amendment to the paperwork filed by his earlier 2014 committee, and not a new 2016 committee. While he terms it 'unlikely' he will mount a 2016 campaign, he intends to keep the committee active, allowing that '"there's always the potential of needing to run." For more information on this race, click here.

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Tags: CD24, Dale Francisco

CD24 (Open Seat) - 3rd Republican Joins Race

Santa Barbara Councilman DALE FRANCISCO (R), who previously ran for this seat in 2014 and finished 4th in the June Primary with 11.7% of the vote, has filed with the FEC to make another attempt in 2016. First elected to the Santa Barbara City Council in 2007, he won re-election in 2011. In 2009, he made an unsuccessful run for mayor, finishing 2nd behind Helene Schneider, who is also running for CD24 in 2016. Prior to his election, he worked as a software engineer for a number of networking companies. He holds bachelor's degrees in Computer Science and English from UC-Santa Barbara. He resides in Santa Barbara. He joins fellow Republicans Katcho Achadjian and Justin Fareed, along with Democrats Salud CarbajalHelene Schneider, and Bill Ostrander. For more information on this race, click here.

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Tags: CD24, Dale Francisco, Helene Schneider

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