Your ballot has made its way from the mailbox to the kitchen counter or coffee table. Now it’s time, California voters, to start wrapping your brain around how to vote in next month’s primary election.
Who will take on Gov. Gavin Newsom in his re-election bid? Who will come out swinging in the race for a new mayor in San Jose? Are voters fed up with criminal justice reformers? Will Republicans have a shot at any statewide office?
Here’s what you need to know.
What’s the primary about?
The June 7 primary winnows the field of contenders for statewide offices such as governor and attorney general as well as state legislative seats and U.S. congressional races for November’s general election.
It’s been more than a decade since California switched to its “jungle primary” in which the two candidates with the most votes, regardless of party affiliation or whether one of them gets a majority in June, square off in November.
Non-partisan local races will also narrow down to two finalists, though a strong contender can win outright with a majority of votes.
Who will challenge Newsom’s re-election?
Does it feel like we just did this? Well, kind of. Nearly 62% of you voted in September against recalling Gov. Gavin Newsom, mirroring the 2018 margin that put him in office. Now he’s up for re-election for a second term. His convincing beatdown of the recall effort was enough to chase top rivals like Republicans Larry Elder and Kevin Faulconer from this year’s race. But there are 25 challengers to Newsom on the June ballot, including 10 who also ran in the recall and each failed to get more than 1.2% of the vote.
California’s beleaguered Republican Party, with a mere 24% of the state’s registered voters, has endorsed state Sen. Brian Dahle, a Lassen County farmer who represents the state’s rural northeastern reaches, to carry the flag against Newsom, whose Democrats command 47% of voter registration.
The only other contender with any buzz is Michael Shellenberger, a Bay Area author declaring no party preference whose books such as “San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities” skewer liberal environmental and social policy orthodoxies. But it’s not Shellenberger’s first go at Newsom for governor either — he got just 0.5% of the vote running as a Democrat in the 2018 primary.
Will voters punish criminal justice reformers over crime?
Californians in recent years voted in a wave of criminal justice reforms and reformers, supporting Newsom-backed initiatives that softened parole eligibility and crime penalties.
Are voters experiencing buyers’ remorse?
In San Francisco, they will consider recalling progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin, a former public defender who campaigned for decarceration and eliminating cash bail. Los Angeles D.A. George Gascon, who promised similarly progressive ideals, appears headed for a recall election this fall.
Voters in those cities and elsewhere have seen well publicized smash-and-grab robberies at malls, rashes of car break-ins, and viral videos of thieves helping themselves to retail goods. Though crime statistics paint a more nuanced picture, cops say progressive DA’s are not cracking down on criminals and voters see a problem — flagging crime and public safety as the state’s third-biggest priority in a Berkeley IGS poll in April.
Our California and Bay Area endorsements for races and measures on the June 7, 2022 primary ballot
Can Republicans make a mark in statewide races?
Criminal justice is also a factor in whether the GOP has a shot at winning a statewide office for the first time since 2006.
Attorney General Rob Bonta, a Newsom appointee and former deputy city attorney, private lawyer and state Assemblyman, will be defending his seat against veteran prosecutors. Republicans endorsed Nathan Hochman, a former federal prosecutor from Los Angeles. But Sacramento D.A. Anne Marie Schubert, who ditched her Republican party affiliation and is running with no party preference, could be the spoiler.
“Back when Republicans used to win statewide offices, it was usually crime and public safety that did it for them,” said longtime political analyst Dan Schnur. “But their brand may be so toxic these days that it’s an obstacle that can’t be overcome.”
A preview of congressional midterms?
Some California congressional contests in central and southern California this fall could very well impact the battle for control of the House of Representatives.
“The House is so closely divided, the half dozen highly competitive races in California could certainly swing the outcome to one party or the other,” Schnur said.
While the winners won’t be decided until November, the primary outcomes will determine the finalists and how competitive those races may be. Incumbents who might be vulnerable include Democrats Josh Harder and Mike Levin and Republicans David Valadao, Mike Garcia and Michelle Steel, according to CalMatters and the Cook Political Report.
A wild card will be the extent to which the abortion debate motivates Democrats following the recent leak of a U.S. Supreme Court draft ruling overturning the Roe v. Wade decision.
There are no competitive races for Congress in the Bay Area, but many voters will get a new representative anyway, the result of redrawn districts as part of the once-a-decade redistricting that takes effect with this year’s election. So if your longtime congressperson is not even listed on your primary ballot, it’s not a mistake: You’re in a different district now. This affects state legislators as well.
Local races to watch
Voters will weigh contenders in open races for San Jose mayor, Santa Clara County sheriff and Alameda County District Attorney. Supervisor Cindy Chavez is making her second bid for the San Jose mayor‘s job against strong City Council contenders including Matt Mahan, Dev Davis and Raul Peralez. Sheriff Laurie Smith’s decision not to run again sets up a contest among insiders like Capt. Kevin Jensen and outsiders like Palo Alto Chief Bob Jonsen. Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley’s retirement opens up opportunities for insiders like Terry Wiley and outsiders like Seth Steward.
When and how do I vote?
Each registered voter should have received a ballot in the mail. After you mark it, put it in the return envelope, seal and sign it and slip it into the mailbox. No stamp needed. Ballots must be postmarked on or before June 7. The last day to register to vote is May 23, but you can still conditionally register and vote up through June 7.
Soruce : https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/05/16/7-things-to-know-for-the-primary-election/