June Election Preview: Races to Watch

Another election day is upon us and for political geeks like us here at CaliforniaCityNews, there’s a lot to be watching for this evening to identify where voters are at and what they might be looking for from policy makers.  For those of you who are really close observers, our very own publisher Mike Madrid will be live streaming analysis as election results come in alongside a number of key political pundits in Sacramento and throughout the state Tuesday night. To join in the conversation be sure to send youself a reminder here. Also, don't forget to follow Mike on his Twitter @madrid_mike for live election updates and insight.

Mike Madrid also co-directed the USC Dornsife/LA Times poll this election cycle. Polling results were published over the weekend and provide a great glimpse into what is on the minds of voters. For a quick overview check out the video below.


For the rest of you with real lives and better things to do, the following cheat sheet should give you an overview of what to look for tonight and what it might mean (or to at least help you sound smart when everyone is talking about the elections around the water color Wednesday morning)….

  1. Governor’s race – Were going out on a limb here and predicting Jerry Brown comes in first place! Seriously though, in a race that appears to be much ado about nothing there are very serious implications on who comes in second place and wins the GOP nomination. Neel Kashkari is the establishment (moderate) Republican running against Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (Tea Party candidate). The outcome of this race could speak to national Republican efforts to nominate more moderate and viable Republicans than the fringe candidates that have plagued the GOP in the last two election cycles and arguably costs them control of the US Senate. Both of these two candidates have little name recognition and even less money to pay for commercials. Recent polling has shown the more mainstream Neel Kashkari pulling ahead on the last weekend but this will be a race to the end with huge statewide and national implications. For the local angle consider that Kashkari has hit Donnelly mercilessly for the Assemblyman’s vote to keep redevelopment zones intact. Redevelopment continues to be the bane of conservative politicians and this has become one of the few policy differences that Kashkari has attacked Donnelly on from the right. Prediction: Kashkari by a nose.
  2. LA County Sherriff's race – Los Angeles prisons are a complete mess and LA voters are reminded of it on an almost daily basis. Lee Baca who left the department in shambles upon his recent resignation has also left a wake of political problems for aspiring candidates, especially department insider Paul Tanaka. Seven candidates are vying for the spot of top-cop in LA. Including Tanaka they are: James Hellmold, Bob Olmstead, Todd Rogers, Jim McDonnell and Lou Vince. This race for the top paid elected official in the country is usually a barn burner once a generation and 2014 appears to be the year it all comes together. Prediction: Look for popular Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell to lead this crowded field
  3. State of Jefferson – Tehama County will have an election where voters will decide in a non-binding manner if they want to secede from the Union and become the 51st state – the state of Jefferson. We don’t know what to make of this here at City News but what we do know is that when there is talk of secession…we start listening. Prediction: Less strife than the country’s last secession movement
  4. Long Beach Mayor – The surprise in this race is actually the surprise that occurred last month; Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal lost in the primary race for Mayor dashing the hopes of having both a female mayor but also establishing April 2014 as the first time a Lowenthal lost a race in Long Beach…ever. The insider favorite, Lowenthal’s loss left Democrat Councilman Robert Garcia running against Independent Damon Dunn. Garcia appears to draw the edge here as a Democrat in an overwhelmingly blue city. He also brings a star studded list of Sacramento political powerbrokers including Senator Ricardo Lara and was appointed by former Assembly Speaker John Perez to a seat on the coastal commission – no small plum. Dunn recently changed registration from Republican to Independent (Decline to State) and recently ran as the GOP nominee for Secretary of State. Prediction: Robert Garcia.


Other items to be considering or looking for….

  1. Turnout will be incredibly low, possibly setting a record last set in June 2008 where voter turnout was 28.5%....
  2. Crossover vote from Republicans to Democrats in the Governor’s race could be a significant factor in which Republican wins (Jerry Brown enjoys a 30% approval rating among Republicans) and with California’s top-two primary system voters from both parties can crossover and support any candidate they like….
  3. About 2/3rds of all local tax measures will pass (yawn)…this has happened with very few exceptions over the past ten years but always seems to make news. 
  4. Big vote by mail percentage could have us waiting for days for many results. Historically low turnout at the polls could mean up to half of ballots will be cast by mail…so be prepared to wait for a long time for local election results….a very long time.


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