During the Manteca Pumpkin Fair, I was asked, “What is the difference between Republican Congressional candidates Ted Howze, Marla Livinggood, and Bob Elliott?” I responded that Ted, Marla, and Bob are all great conservatives and each would be a great representative for the district; but Ted has something Marla and Bob do not have – and that is organization to beat liberal Josh Harder in the general election.
I began speaking to Ted Howze after the 2018 election and got to know him personally. He knew right away he had to prepare his run for Congress and began the process of meeting people and organizing campaign staff early. Since Ted was better known in Stanislaus County and Turlock at the time, having served on the city council and working as veterinarian there, he was interested in knowing how to most effectively reach out to the voters.
Ted is not a stereotypical politician. He didn’t get into politics to boost his ego; but rather to assist those in our Valley communities. Ted has a background coaching football, working with disadvantaged boys of all ethnic backgrounds, and speaks fluent Spanish from decades of work in agriculture. In addition, Ted worked as an EMT and firefighter before becoming a veterinarian. This is a man who cares about people and animals.
Ted is also very humble and unselfish. I was impressed to see Ted taking the time to assist a local World War II veteran, who was having difficulty getting the medical assistance he needed, to work with a local doctor to ensure that veteran got the care he needed free of charge.
The day that Ted announced his candidacy for congress in Turlock, I joined him and so did Bob Elliott. Bob was running for State Senate and supported the “Howze for Congress” campaign. At the same time, Ted was supporting Bob Elliott’s run for State Senate in District 5.
While Ted’s campaign took off unopposed through late summer, things changed as the California Republican Party – under new Republican leadership of Jessica Paterson – meddled in our local politics by deciding they preferred minority and women candidates. It is my belief that this was the reason behind Marla Livengood deciding to leave her home in the 9th Congressional District to run in the 10th Congressional District. Marla ran a great campaign for Congress in 2018 but fell short. The state Republican establishment thought she would be more effective as a female in a more competitive district.
Bob Elliot was running for the 5th State Senate District and was a favorite to win the primary. Bob has been a personal friend of mine for 15 years, even before his decision to enter politics. He personally told me that he felt he was in a great position to win the 5th District for state Senate. However, the same meddling leaders of Jessica Paterson sat Bob down and told him to get out of the race or they would not support him, even if he won the state Senate primary, stating he would get no financial support in their desire to have Jesus Andrade as a minority and a preferred candidate to win the Republican primary. Bob buckled and quit the race.
I was disappointed that Bob would allow party leaders to push him out simply because he is a white male. The best candidate should get our support not a perceived racial profile for success. I spoke to Bob and expressed my disappointment that not only would he buckle; but then challenge Ted Howze after accepting his support the very day Ted announced his candidacy for Congress.
By comparison, the same Party leaders also sat Ted down and attempted convince him to drop out of the Congressional race since they also identified him as a “white male.” Ted did not appreciate being stereotyped, informed the party of his Choctaw Indian heritage and threatened to run against their racist policies. Party insiders were embarrassed at the possibility of being called out for discrimination and backed off. I’m proud of Ted for telling a failing California Republican establishment to go pound sand.
When Marla Livengood and Bob Elliot finally joined the race, Ted Howze was far ahead of them and had already garnered the endorsement of almost every mayor in the 10th district as well as a considerable fundraising advantage. Ted’s staff is top notch and hit the ground running, meeting voters throughout the district.
While I will support whoever wins the primary in this congressional district, I wish we were not divided or having party insiders meddling in our politics, attempting to determine who our congressional candidate is based on race or gender. In a perfect world, Bob would have continued his run for State Senate. Marla would have leveraged her name identification in Congressional District 9 where she lives, and Ted would be unopposed in the 10th District primary allowing him to most effectively utilize his resources to beat liberal Josh Harder.
I am supporting Ted Howze for Congress because of his exceptional work ethic, organizational ability and advanced ground game needed to win this district. Ted’s team has been knocking on doors since July, doing endless public events to meet local people and most importantly, listening to his neighbors here so that he may serve our needs.
I have gotten to know Ted Howze personally and support him wholeheartedly, which is why I’ve volunteered to be the city captain for “Howze for Congress 2020” in Manteca.
Frank Aquila is president of the South San Joaquin Republicans and author of the book, “Sarah Palin Out of Nowhere” and can be emailed at email@example.com