WALNUT CREEK -- In a face-to-face debate early Tuesday, state Democratic Sen. Mark DeSaulnier emphasized his nearly 40 years of experience in public office while GOP challenger Mark Meuser stressed a commitment to lowering taxes and reducing government regulations.
The two men vying for the 7th Senate District spoke to the Walnut Creek Sunrise Rotary Club, answering a range of questions posed by club member David Pearson.
Meuser, a 38-year-old attorney and owner of a Walnut Creek law firm, has never held public office but worked after law school as a campaign manager and chief of staff for a Republican state senator from Missouri.
The 60-year-old DeSaulnier owned the iconic TR's restaurant in Concord and spent the bulk of his political career in local politics, first on the Concord City Council and then the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. He subsequently served one term in the Assembly and is seeking re-election to a second term in the state Senate.
The newly drawn District 7 spans eastward from Orinda and San Ramon to the county line and south into Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore. About three-quarters of the district is in Contra Costa County, while the balance of its constituents live in Alameda County.
DeSaulnier and Meuser differ at almost every level.
Meuser is running a shoestring campaign, reporting roughly $20,000 in contributions through Sept. 30 and less than $1,000 in the bank.
On the issues, here's a snapshot of the candidates' respective views voiced Tuesday:
Contact Lisa Vorderbrueggen at 925-945-4773, Twitter /lvorderbrueggen or Facebook/lvorderbrueggen.