Nearly 18 million California voters are registered to vote in today’s primary election, more than ever before. How many of those folks will actually go to the polls or send-in ballots remains to be seen. With no presidential race and no high-profile ballot measures, some poll watchers are predicting dismal turnout. But those who do vote have a lot to consider today. From Washington to Sacramento to your local City Hall, there’s enough action to sate even the heartiest political junkie. Most of the races will end without any one candidate winning an outright majority, which will set up run-offs in November.
In Sacramento, Democrats are hoping to hang on to two-thirds supermajorities in both houses in spite of a trio of scandals that led to the suspensions of three state senators. Every statewide office is also up for grabs: the governor’s contest is at the top of the ticket, but voters will also pick candidates for secretary of state, state controller and state school’s chief.
Democrats are a safe bet to dominate California’s Congressional races, but the new open primary system has created several intense same-party battles. In L.A.’s 33rd House District, where democratic stalwart Henry Waxman is retiring, no fewer than 18 candidates are on the ballot, most of them Democrats. Another big race is in Orange County, where four challengers are vying for the seat being vacated by veteran GOP lawmaker John Campbell.
In L.A. County, seven candidates are vying to take over a Sheriff’s Department dragged down by allegations of corruption, misconduct in the jails and preferential hiring. Five of the candidates have ties to the department, but that hasn’t stopped them from running as “outsiders” to distance themselves from the department’s scandals. Thanks to term limits, there are also two contests today for seats on the five-member L.A. County Board of Supervisors. One is for the Eastside seat held by the termed-out Gloria Molina. The other is the fiercely contested battle for Zev Yaroslavsky’s Westside seat.
The race to lead the Office of L.A. County Assessor usually doesn’t draw a lot of attention. But that’s a little bit different this year as the current Assessor awaits trial on corruption charges. A dozen candidates – nine of them of county employees – are competing in today’s election to succeed John Noguez. Noguez been on a paid leave of absence since 2012, when he was charged with more 30 felony counts in alleged scheme to solicit campaign donations in exchange for reduced property valuations
The polls will be open until 8 this evening. If you’re not sure where your voting location is, you can find it at the California Secretary of State’s web site.