Former Assembly Minority Leader Chad Mayes, who was ousted from the position after supporting environmental policies opposed by fellow conservatives, will advance to the November runoff in his bid for reelection.

Mayes will be taking on a Democrat, Hemet attorney DeniAntoinette Mazingo. Early returns showed Mazingo leading Mayes at the polls, but both were easily outpacing three other challengers in the 42nd Assembly District.

Ten months into his Assembly tenure, Mayes, R-Yucca Valley, was elected Minority Leader by his peers, but was voted out last summer by Republican lawmakers who decried his support of AB 398, which extended the state’s cap-and-trade program.

After Mayes stepped down from his leadership post, he formed “New Way California,” a group intended to increase Californians’ support of the Republican Party by changing its focus and reaching across the aisle more for solutions.

On his website, he describes himself as a “governing conservative” who “seeks to identify pragmatic policy solutions that will better the lives of Californians and ensure that the state remains a global leader in the 21st Century.”

Mayes’ district seat, which covers most of the Coachella Valley, San Gorgonio Pass cities and portions of the San Bernardino County High Desert, is being sought by Republican candidates who have attacked Mayes’ climate policies and tendency to work with Democratic leaders.

Mazingo said she wants to increase the availability of affordable healthcare, housing and education, particularly for the homeless and senior citizens. As the only Democratic candidate in the field, Mazingo received the support of prominent Democrats like Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, and Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington.

Another challenger, former Palm Springs Police Chief and current La Quinta resident Gary Jeandron, said Mayes voted for the cap-and-trade program to receive “special interest money.”

On his campaign site, Jeandron states, “I do not want to be or ever become a politician. I keep my word. I don’t change my beliefs depending on what group I am talking with.”

Jeandron, who opposes tax increases and sanctuary state policies, was endorsed by Sen. Jeff Stone, R-La Quinta, former Assemblyman Jim Silva and Cathedral City Councilman Mark Carnevale, to name a few. Jeandron previously ran for the 80th Assembly District seat in 2008, a county supervisor seat in 2010 and the 42nd District in 2014.

Former San Jacinto mayor, Navy veteran and businessman Andrew Kotyuk is another Republican challenger who said Mayes’ vote hurt California taxpayers.

“Democrats and now Repulicans like Chad Mayes have long used the environment to raise taxes and create new regulations that hurt the working class, small business and families,” his campaign site reads.

Like Jeandron, Kotyuk also opposes increasing taxes and sanctuary state policies.

Also vying for the seat was Green Party candidate Carol A. Bouldin.

Bouldin, a consultant from Yucaipa, advocated for increasing affordable resources like housing and healthcare, while also supporting environmental policies that back clean energy and reduce emissions.

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