With Labor Day in the rearview mirror, Californians will soon be called upon to get involved in campaigns that will shape the future of Los Angeles, the state and the nation.
Voters – concerned about homelessness, gas prices, crime and the economy – are inundated with TV ads, mail flyers, texts and robocalls as candidates make their arguments. Heavily funded campaigns are also driving seven ballot measures on issues as diverse as abortion, gambling and dialysis.
While the most prominent statewide races are unlikely to be competitive due to California’s sapphire tilt, voters will decide congressional races that could determine control of the House of Representatives, as well as hard-fought contests in Los Angeles that will install the next generation of leaders in the second-biggest city country.
Here’s what voters need to know about the 2022 midterm elections:
When is the election?
Election day is November 8th. But in California, it really is election month.
Ballots will be mailed to all 22 million registered voters in the state no later than October 10. Californians can return ballots in the mail, drop them in collection boxes, or drop them off at voting centers. They can also vote early at polling centers or wait until November 8 to vote at their neighborhood polling stations.
Californians can register to vote or check their status at https://registertovote.ca.gov/.
What’s on the ballot?
A wide variety of congressional, statewide and local office competitions and proposals.
Municipal competitions are held throughout the state. Nothing is more exciting than the Los Angeles mayoral race between Rep. Karen Bass and real estate developer Rick Caruso — a test of whether Caruso’s unlimited spending and outsider’s message will undermine Bass’s institutional support from Democrats, including President Biden and most local leaders and unions, can overpower .
Earlier this year there were questions about whether frustrated voters would back Caruso’s campaign, which targeted crime and homelessness.
Recent polls show Bass has a solid lead in the race, but Caruso, a longtime Republican who is now a registered Democrat, is widely expected to launch a massive field campaign in the coming weeks.
The city’s highest office was last open in 2013, and this is the first time in more than a century that the election has been realigned to coincide with state and national elections. It has attracted tens of millions of dollars in spending, making it the most expensive campaign in the city’s history. Caruso, a billionaire, has spent more than $40 million of his money on the race.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who has come under fire for his handling of misconduct allegations, gang-like deputy sheriff cliques and other scandals, will face off against former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna for the top spot to become a county law enforcement officer. State Senator Bob Hertzberg and West Hollywood Council member Lindsey Horvath are running for a seat on the County Board of Supervisors — a $38.5 billion under-the-radar body that is among the most powerful local bodies in the country – to replace retired Sheila Cool.
Though Republicans were expected to have an advantage in the midterm elections, recent developments — notably the Supreme Court ruling overturning federal protections for abortion rights — have raised questions about whether November’s turnout could improve Democrats’ chances.
Surprisingly strong job growth numbers and falling gas prices may also influence the election.
California, which loses a congressional seat for the first time in its history because it hasn’t grown as much as other parts of the nation, will be key in determining the balance of power in Congress. The state will still have the largest congressional delegation in the country with 52 lawmakers and is home to a number of competitions.
The redistribution, the ten-year post-census remapping of congressional district boundaries, has put candidates on both sides of the aisle in new jeopardy.
While Democrats are on the defense across much of the nation, they are optimistic about their prospects against two of the country’s most vulnerable GOP incumbents in Congress: Santa Clarita Rep. Mike Garcia and Hanford’s David Valadao.
Garcia is competing with former Rep. Christy Smith for the third time to represent a district in northern Los Angeles County that includes parts of Antelope Valley and the High Desert.
Rep. Rudy Salas is running against Valadao to represent part of the San Joaquin Valley, including parts of Kern, Kings and Tulare counties.
Those two counties, plus an open seat in the San Joaquin Valley, are classified as tossups by the bipartisan Cook Political Report, which has tracked House and Senate races for decades.
Democratic incumbents Katie Porter of Irvine and Mike Levin of San Juan Capistrano have been pulled into narrower precincts — a problem for the party if Liberal voters fail to show up in November.
Porter and former Congressman Scott Baugh, a Republican, are vying to represent a prosperous Orange County district stretching from Seal Beach to part of Laguna Beach along the coast and cities inland. Former San Juan Capistrano Mayor Brian Maryott takes on Levin in a coastal district spanning Orange and San Diego counties.
Five more California districts are expected to be competitive and attract significant money and attention.
The contests for governor, US Senate and other offices representing California’s 39 million residents typically receive the most attention.
But given the Democrats’ 23-point lead over Republicans in voter registration at the end of May, there’s little chance that the party’s longstanding dominance of those seats, including the re-election of Gov. Gavin Newsom and Senator Alex Padilla, will remain upside down placed. (Republicans last voted for candidates statewide in 2006. And one of them was an action hero movie star.)
The GOP’s greatest national hope is Lanhee Chen, a respected policy expert running for controller, California’s chief financial officer. He is opposed by Malia Cohen, a Democrat who is chair of the state Board of Equalization.
Though Chen has raised nearly $2.9 million as of June 30, the most of any statewide Republican nominee, according to the California Secretary of State’s office, it’s unlikely to be enough to make up for his lack of notoriety among voters in any state with some of the most expensive to overcome media markets in the country.
Other statewide races to be decided in November are for Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner and Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Voters will also cast ballots for the state equalization agency, the legislature and the judicial system.
Of the seven nationwide proposals on the ballot, gambling has unsurprisingly attracted the most profit. A simple majority is required to pass all of these motions.
- Hundreds of millions of dollars have already been spent on two competing sports betting measures, Proposition 26 and 27. The former would legalize in-person sports betting in tribal areas and at some horse racing tracks, while the latter would allow licensed tribes and companies such as FanDuel and DraftKings to offer online sports betting.
- Proposition 31 would ban the sale of most flavored tobacco products. Tobacco companies have spent tens of millions of dollars resisting the effort.
- Wealthy Californians would pay an additional 1.75% income tax on income over $2 million to fund zero-emission vehicles and wildfire programs if voters pass Proposition 30. A major financial backer of this effort is ride-sharing company Lyft.
- Although abortion rights are sacrosanct in California, the legislature voted to include an amendment to the state constitution in the November vote after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Proposition 1 would specifically protect abortion rights in California.
- Proposition 28 would allocate about $1 billion from the state’s general fund to fund art and music education in public schools.
- For the third time, voters are being asked if they want more oversight of kidney dialysis centers. Proposition 29 would require clinics to have a doctor, nurse or physician assistant on-site during treatment hours.
https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-09-06/2022-california-election-midterm-november-ballot-voters What to know about the California midterm election ballot