Home>Articles>Assemblywoman Mia Bonta Refuses Debate With Opponent, Claims She Is ‘Unavailable’

Assemblywoman Mia Bonta (Photo: Twitter Assemblymember Mia Bonta (@AsmMiaBonta) / Twitter)

Assemblywoman Mia Bonta Refuses Debate With Opponent, Claims She Is ‘Unavailable’

Bonta hasn’t won an Assembly seat outright just yet

By Evan Symon, September 29, 2022 1:37 pm

Assemblywoman Mia Bonta (D-Alameda) refused to a debate with her opponent, Mindy Pechenuk, on Thursday, becoming the latest in high-profile incumbent refusing to enter debates only weeks before the election.

Throughout September, debates have been pursued by many GOP candidates and denied by Democrat incumbents, such as Attorney General Rob Bonta, the husband of Assemblywoman Bonta, refusing to debate Republican challenger Nathan Hochman. Some candidates have relented in recent weeks due to polling shifts or public pressure. Most notably, Governor Gavin Newsom had dodged the debate issue for weeks before significant media pressure for a debate with  candidate and Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) next month.

Despite some success, refusals continue, with Assemblywoman Bonta’s in particular coming out of nowhere. On Wednesday, the Pechenuk campaign received an e-mail from the League of Women Voters (LWV) Oakland, who have been willing to host a debate for the Assembly District 18 candidates, informing them that the debate would not be happening due to Bonta’s unwillingness to participate.

“Thanks for following up,” read the email from LWV Oakland. “We just heard back from the Bonta campaign that she is unavailable to participate in a candidate forum.  We cannot do a forum without both candidates.”

Pechenuk expressed disappointment on Thursday, calling her opponent “Missing In Action (M.I.A.) Bonta” and wondered why the Assemblywoman did not want to debate her, while pointing out numerous campaign issues.

“I thank The League of Women Voters who were willing to set up a debate in October 2022 for the Assembly District 18 race, which would be a debate between Mia Bonta (Incumbent) and myself,” said Pechenuk on Thursday. “I welcome the debate. I believe the voters have a right to see us in action so they can decide how to vote and how to get involved.”

“I stand for building nuclear and desalination plants to ensure abundant energy and water supplies at reasonable prices to our state. I will fight tooth and nail against the nonsensical  so-called ‘Green’ Agenda, a depopulation policy which will destroy farmers and producers. It will impoverish all of our working and poor citizens with skyrocketing prices, blackouts and food shortages.”

 “Mia and her husband, Rob Bonta, the current Attorney General, are both running for re-election. Both have been in favor of the cannabis lobby and drug lobby. They have had the power of their positions to shut down the drug cartels and fentanyl, while the problem has gotten worse and worse.  There were over 108,000  overdose deaths from drugs in 2021 mostly from fentanyl, and California leads the way.”

“Why will Missing In Action not debate me?”

Election experts have noted that many incumbents with comfortable polling percentages or estimated votes often refuse to debate due to costs or not wanting to give their opponent more of a voice on a bigger stage on equal footing with them. They said that Bonta’s was no exception to this trend.

Bonta refuses to debate

“We see this strategy in elections all the time,” noted Justine Rollins, a political advisor and debate organizer, to the Globe on Thursday. “On the presidential level, it’s why we don’t see the more fringe candidates in primary debates after the first few times and it’s why third party candidates keep getting more restrictions like higher minimum polling percentages added on. The other candidates don’t want to bother with someone polling so lowly or giving a forum for them to bring in new ideas and issues. Look at what Perot did in 1992 when he got in on the debates. 19% of the presidential vote was his in part due to being on that stage.”

“In Bonta’s East Bay District, registered Democrats comprise of 64% of all voters. Can you guess the GOP percentage? 6%. To some, it makes sense that Bonta doesn’t want to debate someone with such a remote chance of winning. In this district and others, incumbents and leading candidates 10 points or more ahead see a debate as an unnecessary risk, a platform for their opponent to no benefit for them, a waste of time, a waste of money, a waste of resources. There’s a lot of reasons.”

“The thing is though, debates are incredibly important. Besides bringing up new ideas and issues, and putting in political accountability, debates really show where the candidates are at and what they think. A debate allows people to exit their political echo chamber and hear the others ideas and views. Is it objective? No, but they do change people’s minds. More Pechenuk, this is an opportunity to make her case on a big stage. For Bonta, she can prove that she plays fair, and if she does well, have a ton of great sound bites the next day.”

“Even more, Bonta could finally have Assembly-level debate experience. She hasn’t won an Assembly seat outright just yet. She won a special election, but not a general election. And that special election last year in the run-off? She only squeaked by with 56% of the vote. A debate could really help her here, especially if she is thinking of a higher office in the future.”

“But the big reason to go in on a debate? It’s part of an election and gives voters a better way to decide. Candidates who refuse debates, to many voters, just don’t seem to care about the process and are cowards to many others because they won’t face their opponents on the same playing field.”

As of Thursday, the Bonta campaign has not reversed their position for a debate.

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16 thoughts on “Assemblywoman Mia Bonta Refuses Debate With Opponent, Claims She Is ‘Unavailable’

  1. The mere fact that BOTH BONTA’s are GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES is prima facie evidence of how DEEP THE CORRUPTION is in California…
    The fact that BOTH BONTA’s refuse to debate their opponents is ALSO prima facie evidence that they believe that they are UNTOUCHABLE ROYALTY that are NOT ACCOUNTABLE to the state’s constituents…
    FIRE THEM BOTH!!!
    THIS is the reason that California lawmaking and governance is a COMPLETE DUMPSTER FIRE!!!Whatever happened to “servant leadership”???

  2. Asm Mia Bonta’s opponent, Mindy Pechenuk, has posted here in the comment section of The Globe many times, and I believe she wrote an article that was posted here too. She seems really sharp and has a lot of good, common sense things to say. In the context of an increasingly fed-up electorate it seems Pechenuk might do very well in the coming election. Bonta isn’t doing herself any favors by allowing herself to be perceived as a cowardly, unresponsive representative who refuses to debate. I’ll bet Mia Bonta is afraid to debate Pechenuk.

    1. Oh, also Asm Mia Bonta was one of the reps who was marched out with one of the bills in the disgusting “abortion-for-all-everywhere” package of bills that Newsom signed yesterday. There is her name, right on it. So I guess she is also a Useful Idiot for the CA Abortion Sanctuary State agenda. What a tool.

  3. What are these Democrat pukes afraid of? It seems that the ones who will debate want to do it about a week before the election after early voting has started. Maybe Democrats think debating is “racist” ? After all that is their answer and excuse for just about everything!

    1. Hey John — You know how these Dem/Progressive/leftists are always invoking (in lockstep) everything sensible as “a threat to our Democracy?” We know it’s nonsense and it’s not exactly a news flash that these people are hypocrites, but it seems to me that a candidate’s refusal to stand up for a healthy debate with one’s opponent for an important state assembly seat (or other office) so that voters can see and hear what each candidate has to say is part of the REAL “threat to our Democracy.” (Putting aside that this country is not a democracy but a representative republic, but we know the deceitful Dems’ and their tricks in saying that everyone who doesn’t agree with them is a threat to our country.)

  4. Mia Bonta is another one of those deep-state Democrats lawyers from the east coast who graduated from Yale Law School. She’s just as ethically challenged as her husband Attorney General Rob Bonta. According to Cal Matters, while he was an assemblyman, Rob Bonta’s foundation gave $25,000 to a nonprofit called Literacy Lab where Mia Bonta at the time was earning a six-figure salary as CEO according to Cal Matters. It wasn’t the first time Rob Bonta had directed money to Mialisa Bonta’s employer. He donated $2,000 from his campaign funds to a nonprofit called Bring Me a Book when his wife was the executive director there in 2013. Records show he donated $21,000 from his campaign account to Literacy Lab between 2015 and 2019, when she was its CEO. Bonta donated $4,500 from his campaign account to Oakland Promise, the nonprofit Mia Bonta had joined. He’s also helped his wife’s organizations by asking donors to give them money, or facilitating her fundraising efforts. Between 2014 and 2016, state disclosures show, Bonta solicited $517,500 from donors including Google, PG&E and the owner of an Oakland cannabis dispensary to support his wife’s nonprofits. The bulk of it — $500,000 — was in the form of a grant from Google to Bring Me a Book, where Mialisa Bonta worked before joining Literacy Lab. The rest were smaller donations to Literacy Lab. According to Politico, sport betting interests such as card rooms, non-tribal casinos and their executives supplied most of the donations to the campaign coffers of Mia Bonta who replaced Rob Bonta in the 18th Assembly District. The donations were questionable since Rob Bonta as the Attorney General oversees such operations in the state.

    1. So in essence, BOTH ROB & MIA BONTA ARE GOVERNMENT GRIFTERS!!!

      Stop electing Democraps who are only in the game for the multiple ways that they ENRICH THEMSELVES at (y)our expense!!! Not saying that Republicans are lily-white and pure, but they tend to be LESS CORRUPT than most Democrat “lawmakers”….

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