BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Incumbent Senator Melissa Hurtado (D) pulled out of 17 News’ debate scheduled for Tuesday evening against opposing candidate David Shepard (R) for the 16th State Senate District.

In a statement released to 17 News, Hurtado said she was no longer participating because of alleged attack ads run by her opponent.

“Political campaigns can be messy, tough and a relentless rough road, but we all must draw the line when candidates recklessly fan the flames of risky rhetoric and false fearmongering – especially when street violence is erupting throughout the district.  That type of debate serves no one, so I call on my opponent to stop trivializing violent crime in pursuit of his newfound political ambitions.
“My opponent knows, or he should know if he did his homework, that I have a strong bipartisan record supporting law enforcement. I’ve co-authored anti-human trafficking legislation with my Republican Senate colleagues and delivered a record amount of new funding to help Valley law enforcement and firefighters – the men and women in uniform who’ve been neglected far too long. That’s why my campaign is endorsed by the California Police Chiefs Association, the California Association of Highway Patrolmen and the California Correctional Police Officers Association, which together represent more than 40,000 members of California law enforcement.
“Let me be straight.  My opponent calls me “dangerous” in his television advertisement, but he is the only person in this race who has been sued and accused of assaulting a woman.  I refuse to be drawn into his fear-focused, divisive rhetoric.  Instead, I will continue meeting directly with voters across the Valley to talk about our shared Valley Values and bring people together to deliver common sense solutions.”

Melissa Hurtado, 16th District Senator

Instead of a 60-minute debate, 17 News will be holding a 30-minute question-and-answer session with Republican candidate David Shepard.