Races head to run-offs after scant turnout in primary

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Turnout was expected to be low for yesterday’s election – but the actual numbers may be even more dismal than anticipated. Preliminary results for the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder show that barely 13 percent of us took the time to vote: 13.19 percent, to be exact.  About 4.8 million county residents are registered, but just 636,000 people cast ballots in the primary. More than a third of those votes came via absentee ballots.

Political neophyte Neel Kashkari outpolled Republican rival Tim Donnelly in the governor’s race and will go head to head with Jerry Brown in November. Brown cruised to first place with 54 percent of the vote, compared to 19 percent for Kashkari, and about 15 percent for Assemblyman Donnelly

.tuckIncumbent and union pick Tom Torlakson will take on education reformer Marshall Tuck in a run-off for state schools superintendent. In other state races, Gavin Newsom was the top vote-getter for Lieutenant Governor. He’ll be up against Republican Ron Nehring in the fall…Democratic Senator Alex Padilla and Republican Pete Peterson will square off for Secretary of State…Attorney General Kamela Harris, a Democrat, won an easy victory and will defend her job against Republican Ronald Gold in November… Dave Jones picked up the most votes in his bid to keep the job of state insurance commissioner. He’ll take on Republican state Senator Ted Gaines in the fall.

The state controller’s race is still close to call, with four candidates in the running for a spot in the November run-off. Ashley Swearengin, Fresno’s Republican mayor, leads the pack, with former Assembly Speaker John Perez currently in second.

California voters signed off on two ballot measures. Proposition 41 redirects $600 million dollars in existing bonds to buy, build, and renovate apartments and homes for low-income veterans. Proposition 42 amends the state constitution to require that local governments pay for complying with state transparency laws.

carrIn the closely watched contest for Henry Waxman’s 33rd Congressional seat, Republican Elan Carr was a surprise winner. He’ll be in a November run-off with either State Senator Ted Lieu or former L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel, both Democrats.

A pair of Republicans are heading to a run-off in a Santa Clarita Congressional district that’s been occupied for the past two decades by Howard “Buck” McKeon. Former state lawmaker Tony Strickland received 29 percent of the vote in the 25th District – about 1 percent more than current State Senator Steve Knight.

Republican and military veteran Paul Chabot is holding onto first place in a race for the Inland Empire House seat being vacated by Gary Miller. Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar is currently in second. Democrats are hoping Aguilar can capture a seat that’s been held by Republican for years.

solisIn the contentious battle for Zev Yaroslavksy’s Westside and San Fernando Valley Board of Supervisors seat, veteran state lawmaker Sheila Kuehl won 36 percent of the vote. She’s headed to a November run-off with fellow Democrat Bobby Shriver, the former mayor of Santa Monica. Shriver received just under 19 percent of the vote. Former U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis had any easy time in her bid to replace to termed out L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina. Solis got 70 percent of the vote and avoided a November run-off.

An outsider was the leading vote-getter in the hard-fought race to replace former L.A. Sheriff Baca. Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell will face former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka in the run-off.jeffersonVice Mayor Robert Garcia has won the Long Beach mayor’s race. He’ll be the youngest person and the first openly gay man to hold that job.

And finally, in Northern California, voters in three counties appear to be lukewarm to the idea of splitting off to form a 51st state named Jefferson. A majority of voters were favoring the idea in Tehama County. But voters in Del Norte and Siskiyou Counties were against it.