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Last Friday, the drawled tones of Chargers QB Philip Rivers were broadcast to thousands of telephones in the 52nd Congressional District, which stretches from Coronado and Ocean Beach north through La Jolla and east all the way to La Mesa.

Rivers was touting Kirk Jorgensen, the former Marine who wants to replace U.S. Rep. Scott Peters.

“He supports the families of San Diego and now my family proudly supports Kirk Jorgensen for Congress,” Rivers said.

Meanwhile, Fred Simon, another Republican, has committed to putting more than $1 million of his own money into the same race.

They both want the opportunity to challenge Peters in the November election. But first, they have to be one of the top two finishers in the June 3 primary.

Theoretically, two Republicans could advance. But the incumbent Democrat, Peters, will most likely make it to November. That leaves one spot. Former City Councilman Carl DeMaio is the favorite to take it (here’s our reader’s guide for him).

This Los Angeles Times piece is a good place to start to prime for the whole race.

Simon and Jorgensen aim to give DeMaio a run.

Both of these candidates have very focused lenses for their candidacy. Jorgensen is a former Marine and he works that into his framing of every issue. Simon is a doctor and he works that into his framing of every issue.

Here are some links and key quotes for both:

Fred Simon

Simon is a trauma surgeon who is most fired up about the Affordable Care Act and health care reform, which he pledges to repeal. In fact, it’s the single most important platform of his campaign and what he talks about above all else.

He offers a three-step guide to comprehensive health reform he could support. It would focus on delivery of quality treatment. Here’s the third, most salient point:

Healthcare Provider SupportOur practitioners must be educated and proficient in a modern day healthcare system that is more in tune with costs and adheres to best practices, wellness, and education of their patients.  Healthcare reform must incorporate means of incentivizing this type of behavior by minimizing bureaucratic restraints and compensating physicians based on the quality of care provided.  Until these changes are made, we will continue to lose doctors at a faster rate than we can educate them.

Here’s a profile of both Jorgensen and Simon in the U-T.

Simon, 61, a Coronado surgeon and hospital administration consultant, travels the district in a Greyhound-size bus — a behemoth adorned with his portrait and a rolling platform for his message: repeal of Obamacare, streamline federal regulations and emphasize vocational education.

“We are not addressing quality, we are not addressing how we integrate health care,” Simon said of the Affordable Care Act, adding the federal government is intruding on personal choice and personal freedom. “It’s a bad bill that doesn’t adequately address health care.”

The Coronado Eagle and Journal says Simon manages a special group of surgeons, who cover calls on a 24-hour basis, and he owns a consulting firm. (Simon lives in Coronado.)

“We need to encourage the legislators to send more money  down to the community level. Encourage money to go to local communities where it is most effective and properly used. Let the local communities use the money as fit. They know best,” Simon told the Coronado News.

Simon’s wife, by the way, is a member of the Coronado Unified School District. This post in the Eagle and Journal talks about how she met Fred and her philosophy on public service.

Kirk Jorgensen

The quarterback for the Chargers isn’t the only one who has called out Jorgensen’s family values.

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization of Marriage, sent out a startling and graphic email blast attacking DeMaio, who is gay, for participating in the San Diego Pride Parade last year.

Carl DeMaio claims to be ‘one of us’ but his vision of America is very different from ours. He comes from an environment where sexual morality is a thing of the past, where children are indoctrinated into questioning their own sexuality, where gender is considered fluid but sexual orientation is fixed, and where a candidate who supports abortion, gay ‘marriage,’ gun control and medical marijuana can call himself a conservative — and a “reformer.”

Jorgensen, the longtime Marine officer, is the preferred alternative.

But Kirk Jorgensen is more than a military hero. He’s a loving husband and a devoted father. And he is a proud, true conservative. He will be a champion for all the issues we care about. From defending marriage, to economic security, to repealing Obamacare, to reducing the national debt and ending deficit spending, to protecting our constitutional right to bear arms and to protecting the unborn, Kirk Jorgensen is advancing ideas that can move America onto a path toward security, prosperity and respect for hard-working American families.

In case you didn’t pick up on it, Jorgensen is not in support of same-sex marriage. But it’s not just a position, it’s something he’s worked on.

The Family Research Council’s political action committee supports Jorgensen, and the Christian Post, the evangelical newspaper highlighted Jorgensen as part of the alternative to what the paper saw as a troubling trend in the GOP toward ignoring social issues.

The Post reported that Jorgensen himself raised $400,000 in support of California’s Proposition 8, the measure that banned same-sex unions and was later deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Connie Mackey, president of the Family Research Council’s PAC, told the Post she was shocked that Republican leadership would back DeMaio.

In November, we ran an op-ed from a Jorgensen supporter, Joseph R. John, which talked up Jorgensen’s military experience:

Unlike two other candidates in this race, Jorgensen has never held public office. But he’s served the American public his entire adult life, not only as a Marine Corps officer, but also as a trained CIA case officer in charge of fighting terrorism. He’s a political outsider, a man of courage and impeccable character.

In his own ad, Jorgensen said the Republican Party has lost its way.

“The Republican Party gave up on grass roots 12 years ago and we’re bringing it back,” he said, and he pleaded for volunteers.

The Challenge

DeMaio had $1.2 million cash on hand through the end of March, according to FEC filings. Simon has about the same amount (most of which comes from his own wealth). But Jorgensen has only $60,000 on hand.

By a very slim margin, DeMaio was able to secure the endorsement of the Republican Party of San Diego over Jorgensen. But Jorgensen is not without big-name GOP support. Former U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (senior) endorsed Jorgensen.

Kirk is qualified in ways that no other Republican or Democrat in this congressional race is. This is no time for on the job training. Our country is at war. New emerging threats and concerns are on the horizon, like Iran, North Korea, and Syria. We need leaders who are qualified to make the tough decisions now—leaders who know what it is to be courageous under pressure.

Simon has a unique take on the military for someone hoping to represent San Diego: We don’t need so much.

We do not need to have the biggest military in the world—we need the best.

We need a military big enough to defend our nation and to fulfill our global obligations. However, we do not need the same level of manpower that “traditional” conflicts have required. Special forces, unmanned vehicles, and improved electronics have and will continue to play larger roles in future defense and conflicts.

The money we save by maintaining a smaller, more agile military will allow us to keep our promises to veterans and ensure active personnel keep their benefits.

Simon just launched $50,000 worth of radio advertising. He and Jorgensen have a steep hill to climb and only a couple weeks to complete it. Each is banking that a very focused message will help them do it.

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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