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A Primary That Suits Incumbents
Plenty of people are running for office but few incumbents are challenged.
There’s never been more ways to vote. You can vote by mail, use a drop-off box like the one at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, or you can show up in-person at a voting center on Tuesday June 7th between 7am to 8pm. (Here’s a shoutout to all the poll workers!)
While voting is easier than ever, voter turnout is expected to be low in this June 2022 election. The turnout has a lot to do with who is running and whether it’s a real race.
Even though there are lot of people running in this open primary, there are few seriously contested races. Over 25 people are running against the incumbent governor, Gavin Newsom, the Democrat. Many of them identify as Republican, but the Republican Party doesn’t endorse any of them. The Republican Party did not endorse any candidate but one in the statewide races, which if you’re a Republican should bother you.
The official Voter Information Guide is filled with the vanity plates of candidates who have applied and paid to be in the race but then didn’t fill out the essay portion of the application. Or consider Mariana B. Dawson who needed only 3 words to explain why she is running: “F all politicians.” Apparently qualifications and desire to hold public office are not required to run for office in California.
The Democratic Party appears to have decided the outcome for all the statewide races, which even if you’re a Democrat should bother you. Many of the incumbent Democrats were appointed to office by Governor Newsom, such as US. Senator Alex Padilla, and this is the first time the voters get to vote them in or out of office but there is no meaningful opposition within their party or outside their party. Padilla’s name is on the ballot twice; once to fill out his current term that ends in six months and again for a new 6-year term.
In Sonoma County, there are two races that are up for grabs in part because there is no incumbent in the race: the County Sheriff and the County Superintendent of Schools. These are real races.
Democrat Mike McGuire is up for re-election against Republican Gene Yoon for the 2nd District seat in the State Senate. Democrat Jim Wood is also up for re-election against Republican Charlotte Svolos for the 2nd District seat in the State Assembly.
Carla Rodriguez is running unopposed to replace Jill Ravitch for District Attorney. Two incumbents are running unopposed: Erick Roeser for County Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector and Deva Marie Proto for County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor.
Having few contested races on the ballet discourages people from voting. Filling out the ballot feels like using a rubber stamp instead of making a choice between old and new candidates. It leads to apathy and that’s not good for democracy.
Did you vote? Please share your thoughts on this election in the comments below.