Across California today, voters will be helping to narrow the field of candidates in eight races for state office, including governor and attorney general.
Residents of various districts throughout the state will also be weighing in on races involving the state Assembly, Senate and their Congressional representatives.
And while only one local race will be featured on today’s ballot – for voters of District 1 choosing their new supervisor from among Bill Stoll, David Tanksley and Dan Totheroh – Inyo County voters are still encouraged to head out to the polls to help make a difference in the district and state races.
“This election will be deciding who the top two vote-getters are who will be moving on to the November election,” Inyo County Clerk-Recorder Kammi Foote said.
Foote is one of 10 local elected officials who is running unopposed today for election or re-election. Four members of the county school board are also set to be re-elected. It has been suggested that a lack of local issues and candidates on the ballot will prevent a lot of voters from participating today; low turnout is also expected statewide, though.
Jim Mayer, president and CEO of the nonprofit California Forward, explained why it would be a mistake to not vote in this Primary Election.
“If you don’t vote, you’re telling (elected officials) they don’t have to listen to you, that they don’t have to worry about what you think,” he said. “So, if you want to make their life easy, don’t vote. Then the only voices they’ll hear are those of campaign donors and lobbyists.”
According to Foote, the opportunity to help decide which two state candidates will advance to the November General Election could be especially critical in Inyo County, where the races for Assembly and State Senate feature all newcomers.
Inyo’s current assemblywoman, Connie Conway, has reached her term limits and was not able to run for re-election to the 26th Assembly District, leaving room for seven challengers to vie for the position: Derek A. Thomas, Democrat; Devon Mathis, Republican; Ruben Macareno, Democrat; Rudy Mendoza, Republican; Teresita “Tess” Andres, Republican; Esther Barajas, Republican; and Carlton Jones, Democrat.
“None of those candidates have represented us before,” Foote said. “This is a real chance for us to weigh in on who represents us in the Assembly, for the next 12 years potentially.”
Inyo County voters will also be asked to vote on the race for State Senator in the 8th District – which will include Inyo County after the upcoming election. Candidates for the 8th District seat include Democrat Paulina Miranda and Republican Tom Berryhill. (Inyo County is currently represented by 18th District State Senator Jean Fuller.)
Rep. Paul Cook, Republican, is running for re-election to the 8th District of U.S. Congress against challengers Bob Conaway (Democrat), Paul Hannosh (Republican) and Odessia D. Lee (Democrat).
Inyo County voters will also be asked to choose between State Board of Equalization, District 1 incumbent George Runner, Republican, or Democratic challenger Chris Parker.
Residents’ decision-making skills will further come into play on the races for statewide offices, ranging from Governor to State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Gubernatorial candidates include: Jerry Brown (incumbent), Democrat; Akinyemi Agbede, Democrat; Richard William Aguirre, Republican; “Bo” Bogdan Ambrozewicz, no party preference; Janel Hyeshia Buycks, no party preference; Andrew Blount, Republican; Rakesh Kumar Christian, no party preference; Glenn Champ, Republican; Tim Donnelly, Republican; Neel Kashkari, Republican; Robert Newman, Republican; Cindy Sheehan, Peace and Freedom; Joe Leicht, no party preference; Luis J. Rodriguez, Green; Alma Marie Winston, Republican.
Lieutenant Governor candidates include: Gavin Newsom (incumbent), Democrat; George Yang, Republican; Eric Korevaar, Democrat; David Fennell, Republican; Amos Johnson, Peace and Freedom; Ron Nehring, Republican; Jena F. Goodman, Green; and Alan Reynolds, Americans Elect.
Secretary of State hopefuls include: Derek Cressman, Democratic; David Curtis, Green; Alex Padilla, Democrat; Pete Peterson, Republican; Jeffrey H. Drobman, Democrat; Roy Allmond, Republican; Dan Schnur, no party preference; Leland Yee, Democrat.
Attorney General candidates are: Kamala D. Harris (incumbent), Democrat; John Haggerty, Republican; Jonathan Jaech, Libertarian; Ronald Gold, Republican; Phil Wyman, Republican; David King, Republican; and Orly Taitz, no party preference.
Controller hopefuls include: Laura Wells, Green; Tammy D. Blair, Democrat; John A. Perez, Democrat; David Evans, Republican; Ashley Swearingen. Republican; and Betty T. Yee, Democrat.
Treasurer candidates include: Greg Conlon, Republican; John Chiang, Democrat; and Ellen H. Brown, Green.
Insurance Commissioner candidates include: Dave Jones (incumbent), Democrat; Ted Gaines, Republican; and Nathalie Hrizi, Peace and Freedom.
Candidates for the nonpartisan office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction include Tom Torlakson (incumbent), Marshall Tuck and Lydia Gutierrez.
Again, Foote said, it really is in Inyo residents’ best interest to weigh in on these races.
“People may think it’s a foregone conclusion who will win these state constitutional offices, but narrowing it down to the top two vote-getters can really change the dynamics of a November election,” she said.
Polls are open today from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. at the Tri-County Fairgrounds and Paiute Professional Building in Bishop; Town Hall in Big Pine; Courthouse in Independence; and Statham Hall in Lone Pine. There are drop boxes for ballots in Furnace Creek and Tecopa.
According to Foote, there are 9,506 voters registered for today’s election – 5,825 of them as absentee or vote-by-mail voters.
As of Monday afternoon, her office had received 1,733 absentee or vote-by-mail ballots. Foote said normally, the count would be in the 4,000 range by this time. The one thing giving Foote hope that today’s turnout will not be historically low for Inyo County is that a majority of the mail ballots came in Monday, which she said could mean voters are merely deliberating longer and holding on to their absentee ballots longer.
Tomorrow’s tally will tell.
In the meantime, Foote said, “I want to encourage people to not miss this opportunity to choose our next representatives.”