Things to know for primary election
Voting by mail is underway for California's June 7 primary
Your ballot has made its way from the mailbox to the kitchen counter or coffee table. Now it's time, California voters, to start wrapping your brain around how to vote in next month's primary election.
Who will take on Gov. Gavin Newsom in his re-election bid? Who will be the Solano County
District Attorney? Are voters fed up with criminal justice reformers? Will Republicans have a shot at any statewide office?
Here's what you need to know.
Who is running for Solano County District Attorney?
The two candidates running for Solano County District Attorney are Krishna Abrams and challenger Sharon Henry. Abrams defeated Donald A. du Bain in 2014 to become the first woman ever in the position, while she won unopposed in 2018.
Henry formally announced in early February that she would challenge Abrams for Solano's top law enforcement job, saying county residents deserve a DA who will “do justice regardless of political consequences.”
Meanwhile, Abrams formally kicked off her re-election bid earlier this year at an auto dealership in Fairfield, saying toward the end of prepared remarks, “My top priority has always been and will always be public safety.”
In a news release earlier this year, Solano County Sheriff Tom Ferrara said, “DA Abrams is a true leader and invaluable partner to law enforcement. She works tirelessly to make Solano County a safer place to live, work, and play.”
The Solano County Farm Bureau and Vallejo Chamber of Commerce have endorsed Abrams, while the Vallejo and Benicia mayors, Robert McConnell and Steve Young, expressed their support of Henry. Vallejo City Councilmember Cristina Arriola has also endorsed Henry.
Henry's DA candidacy comes amid a federal discrimination and harassment lawsuit filed in August, a complaint against Abrams alleging retaliation over working from home. Henry alleged she suffered race and age discrimination, retaliation and harassment following her submission of a telework agreement with Abrams in March 2020, according to the lawsuit. Henry began working remotely after her physician recommended that she do so because Henry suffers from diabetes, which places her life at risk should she contract COVID-19.
Abrams, meanwhile, was criticized in the past few years after she recused herself from reviewing the fatal Vallejo officer-involved shootings of Willie McCoy and Sean Monterrosa. She instead referred the cases to the state's attorney general office. Abrams said the state's attorney general, as the chief law enforcement officer, has the power to investigate the shootings.
Henry has been seen at the Vallejo Farmers Market recently, as well as the Roe vs. Wade rally in Benicia last weekend.
“I want to meet as many people as possible,” Henry told the Times-Herald. “I want to get as much support as I can get. I'm looking forward to talking with folks and letting them know what I stand for. I stand for equal justice for all and upholding and adhering to victims' rights. I stand for accountability, regardless of political consequences and I stand for safety in neighborhoods. We can't be happy if we feel we're not safe.”
Henry told the TimesHerald last week that “the most difficult part is finding time to campaign before or after her regular full-time job. But then she said she gets energized and motivated by people seeking change.”
“Make no mistake, this campaign is not about me,” Henry said. “It's about the people here. One thing I've learned during this campaign is that we all may have different political opinions, but in the end, I think we all want the same thing — equal justice for all. I think the people want a district attorney that is independent and won't pass the buck, like I think the current district attorney (Abrams) is doing. But in the end, I think people want to feel happy and safe, and you can't feel happy if you don't feel safe.”
What's the primary about?
The June 7 primary winnows the field of contenders for statewide offices such as governor and attorney general as well as state legislative seats and U.S. congressional races for November's general election.
It's been more than a decade since California switched to its “jungle primary” in which the two candidates with the most votes, regardless of party affiliation or whether one of them gets a majority in June, square off in November. Non-partisan local races will also narrow down to two finalists, though a strong contender can win outright with a majority of votes.
Who will challenge Newsom's re-election?
Does it feel like we just did this? Well, kind of. Nearly 62% of you voted in September against recalling Gov. Gavin Newsom, mirroring the 2018 margin that put him in office. Now he's up for re-election for a second term. His convincing beatdown of the recall effort was enough to chase top rivals like Republicans Larry Elder and Kevin Faulconer from this year's race. But there are 25 challengers to Newsom on the June ballot, including 10 who also ran in the recall and each failed to get more than 1.2% of the vote.
California's beleaguered Republican Party, with a mere 24% of the state's registered voters, has endorsed state Sen. Brian Dahle, a Lassen County farmer who represents the state's rural northeastern reaches, to carry the flag against Newsom, whose Democrats command 47% of voter registration.
The only other contender with any buzz is Michael Shellenberger, a Bay Area author declaring no party preference whose books such as “San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities” skewer liberal environmental and social policy orthodoxies. But it's not Shellenberger's first go at Newsom for governor either — he got just 0.5% of the vote running as a Democrat in the 2018 primary.
Will voters punish criminal justice reformers over crime?
Californians in recent years voted in a wave of criminal justice reforms and reformers, supporting Newsom-backed initiatives that softened parole eligibility and crime penalties.
Are voters experiencing buyers' remorse?
In San Francisco, they will consider recalling progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin, a former public defender who campaigned for decarceration and eliminating cash bail. Los Angeles D.A. George Gascon, who promised similarly progressive ideals, appears headed for a recall election this fall.
Voters in those cities and elsewhere have seen wellpublicized smash-and-grab robberies at malls, rashes of car break-ins, and viral videos of thieves helping themselves to retail goods. Though crime statistics paint a more nuanced picture, cops say progressive DA's are not cracking down on criminals and voters see a problem — flagging crime and public safety as the state's third-biggest priority in a Berkeley IGS poll in April.
Our California and Bay Area endorsements for races and measures on the June 7, 2022 primary ballot
When and how do I vote?
Each registered voter should have received a ballot in the mail. After you mark it, put it in the return envelope, seal and sign it and slip it into the mailbox. No stamp needed. Ballots must be postmarked on or before June 7. The last day to register to vote is May 23, but you can still conditionally register and vote up through June 7.
More information is available online for voter registration at registertovote.ca.gov, early voting locations at vote.ca.gov and ballot tracking at wheresmyballot.sos.ca.gov.