decision 2022

U.S. Senate Candidates Duel Over Country's Trembling Economy

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It’s said variety is the spice of life.

From a billionaire, to doctors, to a teacher, you’ll get plenty of choices to decide your next U.S. Senator in the June Primary.

More than 20 candidates are running to take Senator Alex Padilla’s seat, vacated by Vice President Kamala Harris. NBC 7 heard from incumbent Alex Padilla and attorney Mark Meuser, the Democratic and Republican party-backed candidates for California's open U.S. Senate seat.

Meuser, a constitutional attorney who’s filed multiple lawsuits against Governor Gavin Newsom over COVID shutdowns, responded over the phone to a Santee woman's concerns about inflation.

After multiple mass shootings in the past few weeks, NBC 7's Priya Sridhar interviewed U.S. Senate candidates Alex Padilla and Mark Meuser to find out their stance on guns.

“Yah! Momma wants a new car," laughed Beth Bowden.

She’s ready to replace her years-old SUV, but she's putting the new purchase on pause because of sticker shock.

“Inflation has them $10,000 overpriced," she said.

Mueser said the federal government could use a little more finance savvy.

“The Federal Government needs to start balancing its budget like the state and businesses do, and we do at home,” explained Meuser. “When the Federal Government spends money we don't have, it increases money supply which is one of the leading factors behind inflation.

Bowden isn't alone in her concerns about the economy.

NBC News conducted a nationwide poll the first week of May that found the cost of living and the economy are the top two issues Americans are most concerned about.

“Is inflation real? Absolutely. I've seen the price increases in so many categories, not just as a senator but as a father of three growing boys," said Padilla.

“Prices are going out of control, not keeping up with our salaries," Meuser said.

Meuser says the Democrats are at fault for the country's economic problems, especially, with San Diego gas prices once again nearing record highs.

“Unfortunately, there's only one thing that we can do right now and it's drill. You know what, I think I saw a headline this week where Joe Biden canceled millions of acres of drilling permits,” said Meuser.

Padilla blames the corporations for the skyrocketing prices at the pump.

“Oil companies are absolutely taking advantage of the situation in Ukraine to raise gas prices unnecessarily," Padilla said in response. “So we should tax them for the exorbitant profits and return that money into the pockets of working families."

“I don't see a problem with that," said Democrat and San Diego native Connie Collins says.

Though she's insulated from inflation costs, she worries about the impact it's having on wages and affordable housing for the next generation.

When asked if she likes the safety net provided, she responded: “In general. I think that they are usually more attuned to that."

Abortion rights have become top of mind after a leaked draft opinion showed the Supreme Court was at one point in favor of overturning Roe V. Wade.

Cindy Womack who’s a registered Democrat and pro-choice, said the country's economic woes have her choosing to cross the aisle.

“I think under the Republican office, the economy was sustaining better," she said.

A stumbling economy could prove a problem for Democrats during the primaries.

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