Mid-term elections are notorious for lower voter turnouts than presidential years but this year, with so much attention focused on politics, voters are likely to vote in record numbers.
High-profile races for Governor, U.S. Senator, and the U.S. congressional and state legislative seats that are contested every two years are also on the June 5 primary ballot. The top two candidates, regardless of party, move onto the general election on November 6.
Governor— Because California votes predominately democratic in statewide elections, it’s probable that the governor’s race will come down to two Democrats. There are currently 28 candidates on the ballot; 10 are Democrats, five Republicans, six No Party Preference; one Green, one Peace and Freedom, and one Libertarian. Four candidates declined to have a party designation on the ballot.
According to the latest Los Angeles Times poll, Gavin Newsom (D), current lieutenant governor, is the frontrunner with John Cox (R) in second place. Antonio Villaraigosa (D), former mayor of Los Angeles, is narrowly behind in third place.
Amanda Renteria (D), born in Tulare County and raised in Woodlake, who is the former political director for the Hillary Clinton campaign, is also a gubernatorial candidate. Renteria cautions that voters should not assume the frontrunners will make the November 6 run-off election.
Renteria said there are charges of “inappropriate behavior” pending against Newsom.
Should Newsom fall out of favor with voters, she sees a clear pathway for a woman to finish in the top two.
“I think it’s possible that I could finish in the top two and be on the November ballot,” Renteria said. “This is the year of the woman and never in history has there been so much attention focused on candidates from the [Central] Valley.”
If Amanda is elected, she would be the first woman and the first Latina to be elected Governor in California.
U.S. Senator— The incumbent, Dianne Feinstein (D), who is 85 years old, in good health, and has served in the U.S. Senate since 1992, is running for reelection in a field of 32 candidates. One faction of the state democratic party feels that Feinstein has served long enough and is out
of touch with minorities and younger voters.
This group is supporting Kevin de Leon (D) who currently serves as the President of the California Senate. De Leon is considered to be Feinstein’s only serious challenger.
U.S. House of Representatives— In the 21st District, incumbent David Valadao (R) is running unopposed so he’s elected to serve another term.
In the 22nd District, incumbent Devin Nunes (R) is running in a field of six candidates. According to campaign strategists, Nunes’s high profile as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is a mixed blessing, and his role in the Russia investigation could be his undoing.
His most serious challenge is coming from Andrew Janz (D). Janz is a Fresno County prosecutor who is an outspoken critic of both Nunes and President Trump.
Bobby Bliatout (D) is also a candidate in the 22nd District. He is the son of Hmong immigrants who fled Laos during the Vietnam War and settled in the Central Valley.
Bliatout manages community healthcare clinics, and his production company leases farmland in the Central Valley. Other candidates vying for the 22nd District seat are Bill Merryman, a Liberterian, Brian T. Carroll, no party preference, and John-Michael Williams, who chose no party
In the 23rd District, which includes Three Rivers, Kevin McCarthy is the incumbent and running in a field of five candidates. His most serious challenge is expected to come from Wendy Reed (D) from Lancaster.
Reed has made several trips to Three Rivers to meet prospective constituents. In the 2016 election, she received more than 33,000 votes and feels voter dissatisfaction with McCarthy and the Trump administration could put her over the top.
Other candidates include James Davis (R) of Bakersfield, who said he is running to challenge the status quo in Washington, D.C., politics; and Tatiana Matta (D) from east Kern County, who said Latinos are underrepresented in the district.
State Senate— In the race for the 8th District that includes Three Rivers, incumbent Tom Berryhill is termed out. Andreas Borgeas (R), a Fresno County Supervisor, is considered the front runner to replace Berryhill.
Paulina Miranda (D) is also a candidate in the 8th District and served as a former treasurer of the Fresno Democratic Central Committee. Miranda ran unsuccessfully against Berryhill in the 2016 general election.
Mark Belden, a no party preference candidate, is also running for the 8th District seat. Belden describes himself as a no-nonsense champion of folks who live in the foothills.
State Assembly— In the 23rd District that includes Three Rivers, incumbent Jim Patterson (R) is running against Aileen Rizo (D). Rizo was a consultant to the Fresno County School District and is an advocate for gender equality in the workplace — equal pay for equal work.
Upcoming— More state offices, the races for county and state superintendent of schools, and county offices including the District Attorney race, and the races in two neighboring supervisor districts.