Perennial campaigner Tom Benigno, who this year set his sights on the
“No one will give me the time of day,” Benigno said today. “We didn’t have a debate, and this just irritates me. I don’t believe people are getting the full story.”
Just days before Tuesday’s primary election, Benigno said he was disappointed that the public was deprived of a chance to hear both candidates espouse and defend their platforms in a public forum.
The supervisorial seat is the only local one up for re-election on Tracy's primary ballot, and Benigno, a retired businessman, is the incumbent’s lone challenger. If neither candidate is able to get more than 50 percent of Tuesday’s vote, the runoff will be in November.
Ornellas’ campaign manager, Don Parsons, dismissed Benigno’s complaints as unreasonable.
“It’s pretty difficult to take Tom seriously,” Parsons said of Beningo, who has run unsuccessfully for governor, for the Assembly, for Congress and for mayor of
He also got kicked out of the Republican Central Committee when he ran against then-Rep. Richard Pombo in the 2006 race for Congress because of a bylaw that ejects members for running against the committee’s candidate.
He enjoys being an outsider, Parsons said.
The most Benigno provides for local politics? “Entertainment,” Parsons said.
Benigno chose not to attend a May 12 South
“I can’t think of another time when either of them had a chance to speak at a forum, per se,” Parsons said. “Even though this is a nonpartisan race, (Ornellas) saw this as a chance to interface with the public. Benigno didn’t go.”
Benigno said he chose to skip the engagement because he feels distant from other Republicans.
Benigno said that if he’s elected, he plans to fight for more funding for the debt-ridden San Joaquin County General Hospital and rally for federal money to improve local transportation, the Port of Stockton and Delta levees.
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If he loses the race, Benigno said he still plans to voice his opposition. And he’ll probably run for some office, somewhere again, he added.