The California Policy Center
California’s primary election is fast approaching and initial voter turnout shows voters are detached/bored/zoned out — or perhaps fatigued from the 2020 general election and the 2021 recall campaigns. At California Policy Center, we’re hearing about record low turnout so far for mail-in ballots throughout the state. As a 501(c)(3) organization, we don’t endorse candidates, but we do encourage everyone to vote in this election, where issues that matter are very much at stake.
Polling shows crime and homelessness are top of mind for voters, but the state’s failing public schools, the ongoing drought, the economy, and the high cost of gas, electricity and housing are major concerns for Californians of all political stripes.
Key races to watch:
- State Controller: Longtime controller Betty Yee is termed out after eight years in office. High-profile fiscal conservative Lanhee Chen has done the next-to-impossible and received the rare endorsement of the Los Angeles Times for a — gasp! — Republican candidate.
- State Superintendent of Public Instruction: The uber-liberal San Francisco Chronicle paid CPC’s Lance Christensen a surprise but backhanded compliment in its endorsement of incumbent Tony Thurmond. Among Thurmond’s opponents, the Chronicle explained, “Lance Christensen, vice president of education policy and government relations at the California Policy Center, which advocates for school choice, is the most qualified. He’s also worked as an analyst for the state Department of Finance and in the Legislature. But his school voucher support is a nonstarter.“Tell that to the army of parents who are fed up with California’s failing public school system — including San Francisco parents who recalled three of their school board members earlier this year!
To be sure, the teachers unions aren’t taking any chances. Independent expenditure committees funded by special interest groups are dumping millions into primary races. As Cal Matters reports, as of last week “nearly $1.8 million had been spent to support incumbent Tony Thurmond. Virtually all of that came from a single committee funded by teachers and school worker unions.” The only candidate to pull in more “IE” money than Thurmond is Attorney General Rob Bonta at just under $2 million.
- San Francisco D.A.: In San Francisco, all eyes are on whether progressive district attorney Chesa Boudin will be recalled. Homelessness and crime have skyrocketed on his watch, thanks to his lax enforcement of the law. Not surprisingly, it was reported this week that San Francisco saw 6.3% of its population leave the city between July 2020 and 2021, the biggest percentage drop in population among all major U.S. cities during that period.
- California Congressional and State Assembly/Senate Seats: Also in the mix in this June 7 primary are newly redrawn districts for all 52 of California’s Congressional representatives, all state Assembly seats and half of California’s state Senate seats. Of note is the exit of state Senator Richard Pan, who is termed out after reaching the Legislature’s 12-year term limit. Pan’s over-the-top push for a series of Orwellian health care and COVID-related bills caused a major backlash from parents and concerned citizens in his final term.
- 80th Assembly District: Also on our radar is the race to replace former Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who stepped down in January to head the California Labor Federation. Democrats Georgette Gómez and David Alvarez are competing to complete Gonzalez’s term, and in a concurrent race are vying for a spot on November’s ballot along with additional candidates. The race for the seat has gained attention as unions have poured an eye-popping amount of money into the race to keep Gonzalez’s seat in union hands.
With all the redistricting and so many legislators termed out or retiring, there’s a lot in play in the June 7 primary election. Now, more than ever, it’s critical that California voters make their voices heard.
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The California Policy Center promotes prosperity for all Californians through limited government and individual liberty.
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