When San Diego County Board of Supervisors candidates Monica Montgomery Steppe and Amy Reichert met at Saturday’s Politifest debate, one of the spiciest exchanges had nothing to do with policy.
During the debate, Reichert pivoted from a question about San Diego County’s out of control jail deaths to make a personal request of San Diego Councilwoman Montgomery Steppe: don’t call me names. Reichert took offense to a Montgomery Steppe fundraising email in which she said referred to her as a “science denier and an extremist.”
“I just want to ask you from my heart, please don’t do that,” Reichert said. “If you are going to name call, I just would like for you to point to actual examples.”
Montgomery Steppe replied, “I actually don’t think anything about that is not true,” referring to the science denier and extremist labels. Reichert has long been a vocal opponent of Covid-19 measures. She also founded the group ReOpen San Diego, which Montgomery Steppe characterized at the debate as “antivax.”
“Anti-mandate,” Reichert interjected.
Montgomery Steppe continued, claiming Reichert had been seen with conservative figures like Tucker Carlson, Ted Cruz and Marjorie Taylor Greene.
“There might be people … in the room that totally and completely agree with those folks … and that is totally fine, but in my opinion, that is right wing extremism,” Montgomery Steppe said.
Montgomery Steppe went on to describe the attacks levied against her in the primary, like claims she has denied that she’d worked to defund the San Diego Police Department. But those attacks are all part of running for office, she said.
“I’m asking for an apology,” Reichert said, but the moment had passed, and moderator and NBC 7 reporter Priya Sridhar moved the pair along to the next question.