ENCINITAS — Saturday morning’s “meet the candidate” event for House of Representatives Democratic candidate Doug Applegate was straight from the “Only in Encinitas” files.
Instead of his signature light blue button down and slacks, Applegate — who gave longtime Rep. Darrell Issa his toughest campaign challenge last fall — donned a black Nike shirt, grey shorts, a UCLA ball cap and a blue yoga mat, ready to perform downward facing dogs, lotuses and other yoga positions with prospective supporters on Moonlight Beach.
Applegate and about 25 others placed their mats on the sand and followed along as local yoga instructor Michael Glen put them through a 30-minute exercise.
The Sept. 9 “Yoga on the Beach” event gave supporters a chance to interface with Applegate in a more informal setting.
The longtime Republican incumbent Issa defeated Applegate by less than 2,000 votes in the 49th District election in 2016. Applegate announced shortly after the election that he would challenge Issa once again in the 2018 midterm elections.
He is one of several Democratic challengers in the field, including Rancho Santa Fe businessman Paul Kerr and Orange County environmental attorney Michael Levin.
The former U.S. Marine colonel said that he does yoga to stay in shape, and thought it would be a good way to get to know constituents in the coastal community.
“A lot of vets, our knees are shot, our hips are shot, so a lot of wounded warriors find yoga to be a very good workout,” Applegate said. “So when my staff came to me with the idea of doing a ‘Run with the Colonel’ event, I said, ‘Well, colonel don’t run anymore, because the knees will make him pay for two weeks.
“So they asked me, ‘What do you do, since you’re still skinny?’” Applegate continued. “And I said, ‘A, I’m not as skinny as I used to be,’ but, ‘B, I do yoga when I get a chance.’
“Although I haven’t had much beach time because I have some embarrassingly white feet and legs,” Applegate said, with a laugh.
People who attended the Sept. 9 event said they liked the concept and enjoyed meeting the candidate and releasing some tension.
“I think it’s a great idea, for one it releases endorphins, which is a little reward for coming out to the event,” said Jordan Palcisko, who said he supported Applegate in 2016. “And what a better place to do it than Moonlight Beach, on a cool morning, it’s great.”
Elizabeth Banks came down from Carlsbad to see Applegate, who she voted for and campaigned for in 2016.
“A lot of people here don’t have the (campaign) T-shirt on, so they’re learning about the colonel’s philosophy and direction for the district,” Banks said. “I know he has a tough task, but I am determined to help him flip the 49th.”