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California elections: Republicans see chance to win voters over on housing, crime
Although a Republican candidate has not won a statewide race in California in many years, some speakers held that 2022 could be a breakthrough year.
'The wind is at our back:' Republicans see chance to win voters with focus on housing, crime
Palm Springs Desert Sun
Democrats are dominant in California, outnumbering GOP voters by a nearly two-to-one margin statewide. But Republicans see a chance to change that in 2022, with candidates in several races arguing the state’s Democratic leaders have fallen short on crime, housing and other issues during a conservative forum Monday in Rancho Mirage.
The forum, which was organized by the Lincoln Club of the Coachella Valley, drew two-dozen candidates from 11 races — almost entirely Republicans, along with a few nonpartisan candidates — to the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage, with roughly 250 people paying to attend the event.
With ballots heading to voters in California's primary election this week, the candidates, including a few challenging Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta, consistently hammered state policies and blamed Democrats for their approaches to the state's most pressing issues.More:California primary: Ballots head to voters Monday. Key facts about Riverside, state races
In California, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a wide margin, with Democrats making up about 46.7% of the state's roughly 22 million voters, compared to Republicans comprising 23.9% of the state's registered voters.
But while a Republican candidate has not won a statewide race in California since 2006, several of the speakers Monday were optimistic that 2022 could be a breakthrough year for GOP supporters in the deep-blue state.
“There's a time for a Republican to win this state, and it’s this year,” said state Sen. Brian Dahle, a candidate for governor. “The wind is at our back.”
The forum, which was moderated by Nick Meade, president of the Log Cabin Republicans of the Coachella Valley, did not include any Democratic candidates.
Challengers for governor's seat talk abortion, homelessness
Several candidates running against Newsom, who survived a recall vote in September by a comfortable margin, attended the forum Monday, though none of the main challengers from last year's recall, such as Republican radio talk show host Larry Elder, entered the race against the governor this year.
Dahle, R-Bieber, who has been endorsed by the California Republican Party, told the crowd he knows “exactly how the place (Sacramento) works,” and would use his experience in the California Legislature to his advantage as governor.
“I'm a farmer,” Dahle said. “I would not put somebody in my farming business at the top of the business who's never farmed before.”
Dahle also argued California should ramp up its oil production to address high gas prices and allow the state to reduce its oil imports from Russia amid its war with Ukraine.
“We need to open up those permits and let Californians drill here, and it'll drive the current price of oil down in the state,” Dahle said.
Dahle was joined at the forum by Michael Shellenberger, a Democrat-turned-independent from the Bay Area and author of “San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities,” as well as two other Republican candidates, Anthony Trimino and Major Williams.
Shellenberger, one of the only non-Republican candidates at the forum, touted his endorsements from personalities such as Tucker Carlson and Joe Rogan, and offered a bleak picture of the state’s homeless encampments, saying he would shut them down in a way that prioritizes “psychiatric and addiction care, as well as law and order.”
“The Democrats in this state are not going to be satisfied until there are open drug scenes and supervised drug addiction sites where people will smoke meth and fentanyl in every city in California,” Shellenberger said. “I'm the only person that's been able to expose that.”
The candidates were also asked to weigh in on abortion rights, following the recent leak of a draft opinion from the Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v. Wade. When asked to say “when life begins,” Dahle drew applause from the crowd when he responded: “The word says the Lord knew you before you were in your mother's womb.”
But the Republican senator also noted Newsom and state lawmakers are looking to place the question of abortion as a constitutional amendment on the November ballot.
“This is a great time for states to have the opportunity to actually weigh in on the issue and not to be done at the federal level,” said Dahle, who was recently the target of an attack ad from Newsom regarding his opposition to abortion.
Williams and Trimino both said life begins at contraception. Shellenberger did not specifically answer the question, but said California “has pretty much made its mind up” on being a pro-abortion rights state.
Who’s running in California’s June 2022 statewide election?
Governor Gavin Newsom is running for reelection in 2022 midterm. Who are the Democrats, Republicans in June election? Attorney General Rob Bonta on ballot, too.
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VOTER GUIDE Gavin Newsom is on the ballot this June. Here’s your guide to California’s statewide election
BY ALEXANDRA YOON-HENDRICKS
UPDATED MAY 10, 2022 9:36 AM
Duration 1:19 UP NEXT:
Here is what to do with your vote-by-mail ballot
If you’ve gotten your vote-by-mail ballot, here’s what to do next. BY JOSHUA BESSEX
The June primary election is almost here. County elections office will began mailing ballots on Monday.
Want to know who all those people and positions are on the state ballot? Here are all the races, as well as the major candidates, for state office.
The election will be held June 7.
Incumbent Gavin Newsom is running for his second and final term as California Governor. The Democrat handily won the job in November 2018, and defeated a recall effort last year led by conservatives incensed by his COVID-19 policies.
Newsom crushed the recall by the same margin he won election four years ago, with almost 62% of voters electing to keep him in office. He beat some high-profile challengers, such as conservative talk radio host Larry Elder and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
None of the major candidates who challenged Newsom during the recall are running this year.
This year, Brain Dahle, the Republican state Senator who represents the District 1 California’s northeastern corner, is Newsom’s most prominent challenger. Backed by the state Republican party, he’s raised more than $1.1 million so far this year.
While the odds of Newsom losing this year are slim, he still faces a slew of pressing issues: A spiraling home and rent prices, inflation, rising gas prices, increases in certain crimes, and the worsening humanitarian crisis of homelessness. A poll released in February found his approval rating was nearly split — 48% of voters approve of his record, while 47% disapprove.
Incumbent Eleni Kounalakis, a Democrat, is seeking reelection for the second-highest ranking state executive office. She won the position in 2018 after a tight intraparty race after her father, Sacramento real estate developer Angelo Tsakopoulos, poured millions into her campaign.
Last month she became the first woman to serve as head of state government since 1976, and the first woman in California to sign a bill into law, while Newsom was away on spring break with his family. Kounalakis has raised more than $778,000 so far this year.
Seven candidates are challenging Kounalakis, including two Democrats and three Republicans, none of whom have raised more than $25,000 for their respective campaigns. Angela Underwood Jacobs, deputy mayor of Lancaster, has been endorsed by the California Republican Party.
Incumbent Rob Bonta, a Democrat from Alameda, was appointed as the state’s top lawyer in March 2021, replacing Xavier Becerra who was named secretary of Health and Human Services under President Joe Biden’s administration.
Now, Bonta is running to keep his job leading the state’s Department of Justice, ensuring laws are adequately and evenly enforced and overseeing law enforcement agencies such as county district attorney offices and sheriff departments.
The race is shaping up to be one of the most competitive this June. Bonta, a former assemblyman representing Oakland and advocate for criminal justice reform, is on the ballot amid rising public concern about crime.
Four candidates are challenging Bonta on the ballot, including two Republicans, an independent, and a Green Party candidate.
Among the top contenders is Nathan Hochman, a Los Angeles-based lawyer who served as U.S. assistant attorney general in the justice department’s tax division under President George W. Bush, has been endorsed by the state Republican party. He’s raised more than $435,000 so far this year.
Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert is also running, a longtime Republican who formally changed her political affiliation to no party preference in 2018. Schubert, who rose to national prominence after the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo, also known as the Golden State Killer, has been endorsed by dozens of law enforcement organizations and district attorneys, and has raised more than $545,000 this year so far.
In addition, Republican Eric Early, a Los Angeles-based attorney who served as lead counsel for the RecallGavin2020 campaign, is vying for the position and has raised more than $145,000 so far this year. Green Party candidate Dan Kapelovitz, a Los Angeles-based criminal defense and animal rights attorney, is also running for attorney general.
SECRETARY OF STATE
Appointed by Newsom in January 2021, incumbent Shirley Weber, a Democrat, is running to maintain the office. She replaced Alex Padilla, who Newsom picked to replace Vice President Kamala Harris as U.S. Senator after the 2020 Presidential election.
The secretary of state manages all federal and state elections, and oversees the disclosure of campaign and lobbyist finance records. The position also oversees the state archives, and the registration of companies and businesses in the state.