Primary showdown

Candidates for U.S. Representative in District 1 square off—except for Doug LaMalfa

The League of Women Voters of Butte County wrapped up a series of candidates forums ahead of the June 7 primary election on Tuesday (May 3), as five of seven candidates for U.S. Representative in District 1 squared off in Chico State’s Harlen Adams Theatre.

The incumbent, Congressman Doug LaMalfa (pictured), declined the league’s invitation, and democratic candidate David Peterson couldn’t be contacted ahead of the forum, league President Margaret Swick said during her introductory statement. That left Gregory Cheadle (R), Jeff Gerlach (no party affiliation), Joe Montes (R), Gary Allen Oxley (R) and Jim Reed (D) to answer questions from the audience, the league and members of the press.

Topics included climate change, women’s reproductive rights, the movement for Northern California to secede and form the State of Jefferson, water infrastructure, gridlock in Congress and the presidential race. The candidates also explained why they can beat long odds and unseat LaMalfa. The top two vote-getters in the primary election will run against each other during the general election in November—even if they’re members of the same party.

Leading up to the congressional debate, the league also hosted forums in Gridley, Oroville and Paradise for the Butte County Board of Supervisors races. Three of the five seats are up for grabs this election cycle, and Supervisors Steve Lambert (District 4), Doug Teeter (District 5) and Bill Connelly (District 1) all are vying for re-election.

To view the forums online, go to For nonpartisan information about candidates in all of California’s elections, go to