Despite what her campaign calls “personal attacks,” Xanthi Gionis has received a “tremendous response from the voting public” for her state Senate candidacy in the 40th District, which includes Imperial Beach.
That’s the word from Mildred Lyon, Gionis’ spokeswoman.
“Our campaign is moving ahead with great momentum toward the primary election” on March 12, Lyon said Sunday via email—a day after U-T San Diego reported that the state has ordered the shutdown of a school at the Carlsbad college she founded.
The U-T said the Aristotle University School of Public Health was ordered closed by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education or face a $50,000 fine.
Despite a spate of adverse publicity, which led Gionis not to seek the county Republican Party’s endorsement, her campaign is buoyed by public support, Lyon said.
“We have received hundreds of e-mails and telephone calls to the campaign from constituents pledging their vote to Xanthi Gionis. … The calls, remarkably, have come from voters across the political board, from Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike.”
Lyon said many of her supporters are impressed by Gionis’ educational background, professional experience and “most importantly her dedication to the U.S. Constitution and conservative family values.”
“As a fluent Spanish-speaking Latina and the daughter of immigrants, the people of the 40th District that meet and speak to Xanthi come away feeling her passion to truly help them.”
The campaign also is noting what it calls a tremendous response from gun owners—“after Xanthi was the only candidate in this race to receive an ‘A’ rating by the NRA and the California Rifle and Pistol Association.”
Lyon said Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike feel that it is important to elect individuals who will fight to “preserve our fundamental rights, whether or not one chooses to exercise them or not.”
The U-T report said Gionis didn’t respond to requests for comment about Aristotle University, the one-room college lacking accreditation.
“With regard to Aristotle University, I believe that Xanthi has made it very clear on a number of occasions, both publicly and privately to the Union-Tribune and other press agencies, that Aristotle University was sold several months ago by her father, Matthew, to a new owner,” Lyon said without specifying the owner.
“Matthew Gionis, Xanthi’s father, sold the school after having suffered a debilitating and rather massive cerebral stroke on March 18, 2011. He has been bed-ridden with 24-hour nursing care at his home, where he lives with his wife of 60 years, Bessie Gionis.”
Lyon called the critical coverage part of “personal attacks” against Gionis, whose goal is to “dissuade her from continuing on her trajectory to Sacramento.”
But the coverage has “only served to strengthen our campaign,” Lyon said. “We have received a tremendous response in support of Ms. Gionis from the voting public.”
Gionis, who is vying against four other candidates in the race, including county-GOP endorsed Hector Gastelum, “is in this race for all of the right reasons and District 40 would benefit greatly by electing her as their state senator,” Lyon said.
“Xanthi has exhibited the strength, intelligence and ability required to make a difference in our state,” she concluded.
The special election in the Democratic-leaning district was called when incumbent state Sen. Juan Vargas was elected to the House of Representatives.