BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Tuesday is California's statewide primary election and polls are now open. Tuesday’s primaries will set the stage for November's general election where a handful of U.S. House seats will help determine party power in Congress.
In California the Democratic party typically dominates politics, but in this election, there are a few key races where Republicans hold the position of power.
Republican races that voters will be deciding include Representative David Valadao representing the newly drawn 22nd District. His former district used to include San Joaquin and part of Fresno counties but now he’s overseeing parts of Tulare, Kings, and Kern County. Rival Republicans Chris Mathys of Sanger, California, and Adam Medeiros from Hanford are looking to unseat Valadao.
But if Valadao holds out in this primary all eyes will be on him and Democratic Assemblyman Rudy Salas, a five-term incumbent from the 32nd District.
Four newcomers hope to unseat eight-term incumbent Representative Kevin McCarthy in the race for Congressional District 20. Two Republicans and two Democrats are entering the race. However, the chance of this seat switching party lines is unlikely given the change of district lines with republicans in the 20th District leading democratic voters by 20 points with 47 percent of the voter registration as of May 23rd.
If McCarthy maintains his seat, he could become the next speaker if the GOP flips enough seats. Something analysts tell us isn’t so far out of reach given new district lines and recent trends.
“Are we going to see a countertrend with Hispanic voters moving towards Republicans? Would the Republican base expand in the Hispanic base because if it does that would be the step forward for the Republican party in California,” says Allen Bolar, 23ABC political analyst.
And finally, Republican Senator Shannon Grove is moving from the 16th District to the 12th District thanks to recent redistricting. She’s facing off against Democratic challenger Susanne Gundy.
This race is trending closer in favor of Grove with Republicans leading Democrats by 17 points with 45 percent of the registration as of May 23rd. The new 12th District includes parts of Bakersfield, as well as the Kern River Valley, Ridgecrest, Taft, and Tehachapi.
California uses a top-two primary format, meaning the two candidates who receive the most votes in this primary, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to the general election in November.
The race for Kern's District 2 Supervisor covers one of the largest areas on the supervisor's map. The district encompasses a variety of issues including oil and energy, inflation, policing, and unemployment rates just to name a few.
23ABC spoke with three of the candidates vying for the position when it comes to their approach to preserving the oil and agriculture industries in Kern County and their potential district.
Former Tehachapi police officer Pete Graff says that if elected his focus would primarily be on holding current Governor Gavin Newsom accountable when it comes to energy and ag. Meanwhile, other candidates for the position are taking a different approach to handle our county's reliance on oil.
Candidate Kelly Carden, a hospitality professional, is focused on adapting to oil and water restrictions from the state by finding new ways to preserve resources the county still has. And the final candidate for District 2 supervisor is incumbent Zack Scrivner who has held the position for over a decade. His focus is on encouraging the county and the state to look at Kern's oil production differently, adding that Kern's oil production is already the best case for Californians.
If you've already filled out your ballot and sent it in the mail you can track your ballot online. You can find out where it is, when and if it's been counted.
If you're planning on dropping it off there are plenty of official ballot drop boxes across the county
There are four drop boxes in Bakersfield alone:
- Kern County elections Office: 1115 Truxtun Ave.
- Kern County Fire Station #67: 14341 Brimhall Rd.
- Holloway-Gonzales Branch Library: 506 E. Brundage Ln.
- Kern County Public Works Road Yard: 5438 Victor St.
Other drop box locations:
- Arvin: Arvin Branch Library - 201 Campus Dr., 93203
- California City: California City Branch Library - 9507 California City Blvd., 93505
- Delano: Delano Branch Library - 925 10th Ave, 93215
- Frazier Park: Frazier Park Branch Library - 3732 Park Dr., 93225
- Lake Isabella: Kern County Superior Court - 7046 Lake Isabella Blvd., 93240
- Lamont: Kern County Human Services - 8300 Segrue Rd., 93241
- McFarland: McFarland Branch Library - 500 W. Kern Ave., 93250
- Ridgecrest: Kern County Superior Court - 132 E. Coso Ave., 93555
- Rosamond: Rosamond Branch Library - 3611 Rosamond Blvd., 93560
- Shafter: Kern County Fire Station #32 - 325 Sunset Ave., 93263
- Taft: Taft Branch Library - 27 Cougar Ct., 93268
- Tehachapi: Tehachapi Branch Library - 212 Green St., 93561
- Wasco: Wasco Branch Library - 1102 7th St., 93280