Brandon Fricke, fiancé of Fox News commentator Tomi Lahren, has announced he is running for Congress as an independent against Democratic incumbent Ted Lieu, a vocal critic of President Donald Trump, in California’s 33rd Congressional District. The heavily Democratic district covers much of the Los Angeles County coastline and includes communities such as Beverly Hills, Malibu, Santa Monica, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, and Venice.
“The sight of tents, trash, feces and needles littering our public spaces has become ordinary,” Fricke said in his announcement video. “We must not only show compassion for the disadvantaged, but for the hard-working constituents who abide by the laws and are just trying to live their lives in the district that we all fell in love with.”
Fricke, 30, originally from Chico, Calif., has lived in the district since 2014. He is a former backup quarterback for Central Michigan University’s football team and has also worked as a contract advisor for NFL players.
Fricke told The Epoch Times about his transition from sports to politics and how it came out of frustration from his representatives, who he says neglects the needs of their constituents.
“I was always politically vocal and aware. When I saw problems going on in the city and the state I would always call and write my local representatives. I would do everything a concerned constituent is supposed to do. I was able to get feedback from some of my other [representatives], but the one member who it would always fall upon deaf ears and always give the cold shoulder was Ted Lieu’s office,” he said.
When asked about his fiancé’s influence and name recognition as a conservative pundit and whether it would help or hinder his campaign in a heavily Democratic district, Fricke told the Epoch Times that this race wasn’t about Lahren.
“I’m my own person. Tomi is my fiancé but she is not running for office. Any questions that people may have about her stances and things she’s said, they can talk to her. She is great about making herself available. For me this is about preserving and extending freedom, really taking a vested interest in this district.”
Fricke explained his desire to run as an independent. He does not want to be beholden to a party, but to focus on solutions to the issues facing the country.
“I’ve always been an independent. I’ve never been registered to either party because I believe in solutions, policies and ideas, which supersede a party. It’s really about identifying and fixing problems. We need to focus on solutions, not play for a team. If Democrats are doing something that doesn’t promote freedom and isn’t in the interests of the 33rd, I won’t agree with them there, and same thing [goes for] the Republicans. I want to call balls and strikes, whichever way it goes.”
He also said that he would limit himself to three terms as a congressman and would not be a career politician.
“We need a representative who’s attentive and takes the time to understand [the issues] and is not worried about their career. I don’t see this as a career. After being elected, I won’t serve more than three terms. As a congressman, you are really doing a service.”
Fricke also spoke on the mass exodus from California of many individuals and businesses, including many of his family members. He said that he wasn’t leaving and that California, despite all its problems, was “worth fighting for.”
“The quality of life for middle class Californians has really deteriorated and just having to see them leave is not what I am about. I think California is a great place. I think California is worth restoring. We have vast economic and natural resources here. The beauty of the 33rd district in particular, it’s one of the most expansive coastlines with some of the most pristine beaches. It’s really a place that is worth fighting for and if I left for Texas, Arizona, or Tennessee, who would stand up to restore compassion for the regular Californian?”
Fricke explained what he thought were the biggest issues facing the district, such as decreasing quality of life, increasing crime, and increasing homelessness.
“We are [telling] the average citizen who is just trying to scrape by that your input doesn’t matter. To me I don’t think it’s really that our politicians even care about them. It’s that it has turned into big business. When you look at these homeless shelters where they want to build 150 beds in Venice, two blocks from the beach, I don’t think that’s a real solution. That makes a developer rich and people who have influence very wealthy, but that doesn’t solve the problem.”
The current estimated homeless population in Los Angeles County is 58,936, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. This was a 12 percent increase from 2018’s homeless population.
Fricke expressed his belief that his position as a political outsider will allow him to connect with all of the constituents of the 33rd district.
“I’ve been outside of the fray of politics but I’m someone who’s lived here for the better part of my 20s,” he said. “I really see the problems as they’ve gotten worse. I’m just an average person who sees the problems and wants real solutions. I don’t want to talk about them. This isn’t about a 30-40 year career. I’ve seen the problems and I know the problems because I’ve lived here and I want to fix them.”
Alongside Lieu, Fricke will be facing two-time Republican candidate Kenneth W. Wright, who ran against Lieu in 2016 and 2018, as well as 2018 Republican Senate candidate James Bradley in the non-partisan blanket primary on March 3. The top two vote recipients will advance to the general election in November.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.