Polls opened across California on Tuesday in a primary election in June that will help determine Los Angeles’ next mayor, signaling a pivotal moment in the city’s history. It’s also a test for the progressive district attorney in San Francisco.
Voters will also vote for Governor and U.S. Senator, although Democratic Governors Gavin Newsom and Senator Alex Padilla will not face stiff competition and are expected to win.
Early turnout was dismal before polling stations opened on Tuesday. Every registered voter in the state received a ballot in the mail, but only 15% had delivered them to election officials or weighed them at early in-person voting centers Monday night, according to election data reviewed by the consulting firm. Political Data Intelligence.
The race for mayor of Los Angeles is among the most competitive on the ballot. Voters in the city, plagued by a homelessness crisis, crime and a booming housing market, are in a pessimistic mood. The top three candidates are Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), billionaire developer Rick Caruso and Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León.
A poll released Sunday showed that 38% of likely voters support Bass. Caruso, who bombarded the airwaves in LA with millions of advertising dollars, has 32% support.
With 15% of likely voters still saying they are undecided, either of the two could still come out on top in the primary, but either candidate is unlikely to win the 50% needed to win. avoid a second round in November.
The election comes after a frantic weeks of campaigning across the city, which has included increasingly personal and partisan attacks launched by each side. Caruso’s supporters have attacked Bass’s congressional attendance record, while Bass’ supporters have spoken nonstop about the businessman being a previously registered Republican, as well as his previous ties to politicians opposed to abortion.
Since Caruso announced his candidacy in February, the Los Angeles Times poll has found the contest to be largely a two-man race, with Caruso and Bass appealing to contrasting bases of support.
Concerns about rising crime drove Caruso’s campaign, which early attracted strong support from more conservative Angelenos, especially white voters. Over time, however, he also won over a growing number of Latino and black male voters, according to the poll. Bass has gained ground with the largest segments of the city’s electorate – her fellow Democrats, Liberals and women. She also maintained a strong lead among black women, according to the poll.
LA voters will also weigh in on a new city attorney and city comptroller as well as several city council races. The District 3 Board of Supervisors seat is up for grabs, as are the Los Angeles School Board seats.
Among the competitive statewide races is the run for attorney general, an election that comes amid a debate over rising crime and the impact of decades of criminal justice reform. in California. Democratic incumbent Rob Bonta takes on an independent, Sacramento Dist. Atti. Anne Marie Schubert, and two Republicans, former Assistant US Atty. General Nathan Hochman and Los Angeles attorney Eric Early.
San Francisco voters will decide whether or not to recall Dist. Atti. Chesa Boudin, who was elected in 2019 on a criminal justice reform platform but has faced backlash over crime and homelessness.
Orange County Dist. Atti. Todd Spitzer, who stood up to criticism after racist comments he made while reviewing the case of a black defendant, faces several challengers.
In the race for California comptroller, Republicans are hoping a split field of Democrats will allow the party’s sole nominee to emerge in the lead.
But even then, the Democrats will likely have the advantage in November. Republicans haven’t won a general election for statewide office since 2006, the year Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger won re-election and Steve Poizner became insurance commissioner.
Los Angeles Times