An Inland Empire state Senate candidate has found herself facing controversy after the California branch of the National Organization of Women denounced her answers to a questionnaire put out by the group while endorsing her opponent.
California NOW chose to endorse Democrat Abigail Medina in the 23rd state Senate District as it called statements written by Kris Goodfellow, the only other Democrat in the race, “offensive and not in alignment with our values.”
The organization interviews candidates and asks them to fill out a questionnaire as part of its endorsement process. In Goodfellow’s questionnaire, she criticizes her Democratic opponent, calling her a “ticking time bomb of a scandal” and accusing her of having an affair with her campaign manager.
Goodfellow, a former journalist and current web entrepreneur, said the “likely Republican opponent,” Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, is a “Mexican American woman who went to UCSB, married her high school sweetheart and has three beautiful kids. She is on the school board. She is on the board of our local real estate association. She is heavily involved in the Mormon church. Even though she is a Republican, she is well known for her generosity to charitable organizations supporting the homeless. She is basically a nice person. Her family is wealthy and steeped in local Republican politics.”
Goodfellow said Bogh and Medina, who serves on the San Bernardino City Unified School District Board, have similar profiles in terms of their service and backstory, but the similarities end there.
“In 2016, while running and featuring her family in ads, Abigail Medina was having an affair with her paid female campaign manager,” Goodfellow said. “She subsequently left her husband and five kids. She lost custody of those kids, and they no longer speak to her. She has no higher education and no career experience. She paid her campaign manager/girlfriend repeatedly from campaign funds in her recent school board race. Her nonprofits have both been unregistered with the state – and taking donations. She and her girlfriend both worked for the most recent nonprofit, and both were recently asked to step down as the only two paid employees for failing to create a clear delineation between the nonprofit and her campaign activities – something she has repeatedly done. Politically, she is too far left for a district that has never voted for a Democratic – let alone an extreme progressive one. She is loathed by the real estate community and developers, and they will spend heavily to defeat her.”
After receiving Goodfellow’s questionnaire answers, California NOW President Kolieka Siegle contacted her to let her know that she would not receive California NOW’s endorsement and that the organization considered her answers derogatory.
Reached by phone, Siegle called Goodfellow’s answers “character assassination.”
“As an organization, we stand for the empowerment of all women,” Siegle said. “I honestly was shocked and appalled. We’ve never, in our history, come across anything like this, let alone from a progressive. I mean, a conservative would have sent in that, so it’s just really kind of a shock.”
California NOW put out a statement endorsing Medina and saying the group “will not participate in a call for big tent politics where women, BPOCs, LGBTQ and working people’s humanity is an approved topic of debate.”
Medina is openly gay and has said publicly that she did not run for office in 2018 because she was in the process of divorcing her husband.
Medina said via telephone that Goodfellow’s statements about an affair and her relationship with her children were “false allegations.”
“For me, it’s unfortunate that she has to resort to spreading lies in order to make herself seem like she should be the winnable candidate,” Medina said. “We’re trying to stay focused on our campaign.”
Goodfellow did not return requests for comment, but she did send an apology to California NOW for the questionnaire statements, saying she was “in a reactive mindset.”
Siegle said California NOW had been considering doing a dual endorsement of both Goodfellow and Medina before the statements.
“I’m still a little bit in shock,” she said.
Goodfellow’s questionnaire answers also led the Democratic Club of Rancho Cucamonga to rescind its endorsement of her.
Will Fritz can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.