For a complete list of races in your area, including your polling place, refer to the handy interactive voter guide above.
Gov. Jerry Brown is running for an historic fourth term as governor of California on a record of fiscal responsibility and prudent investment in water resources and transportation. Brown points to the first state budget surplus in years as proof of his policies. He faces Republian newcomer Neel Kashkari, who has led a spirited campaign, at one point labeling the planned high-speed train network a “crazy train,” but remains a distant second in the polls.
Incumbents Gavin Newsom, the lieutenant governor; Kamala Harris, the attorney general; and Dave Jones, the insurance commissioner, face token Republican opposition. Respected Controller John Chiang, who is termed out, is running for Treasurer and expected to win. There are three statewide races with real opposition.
The race for for Secretary of State pits Alex Padilla, a termed-out state senator and former Los Angeles city councilman, against Republican newcomer Pete Peterson, who heads at think tank at Pepperdine University. Padilla is widely considered an effective legislator and has outlined a plan to add 1 million voters to the rolls.
Democrat Betty Yee, a member of the State Board of Equalization, faces the two-term mayor of Fresno, Republican Ashley Swearengin, for the position of Controller. Swearengin is a respected mayor, and broke ranks with the Republican establishment by refusing to endorse Kashkari.
The position of State Superintendent of Public Instruction is non-partisan, and the race is between two Democrats, incumbent Tom Torlakson and Marshall Tuck. Torlakson is backed by teachers unions, while Tuck is a charter-school reformer who has the high-profile endorsement of former Los Angles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. A fundamental difference between the two candidates is in the area of teacher tenure. Torlakson has appealed the landmark Vergara decision, which struck down the practice of lifetime tenure for Los Angeles teachers, while Tuck would drop the appeal.
There are six statewide propositions covering water supply, a state “rainy day” fund, health insurance costs, medical malpractice claims, criminal sentences and Indian gaming. See MyNewsLA’s complete guide to the propositions.
One of the more closely watched races of this election revolves around who will replace longtime Congressman Henry Waxman, who announced his retirement from Congress earlier this year. Current Democratic State Senator Ted Lieu will compete against Republican prosecutor Elan Carr to represent the 33rd District, which includes the prominent cities in the Westside and South Bay. In a Democrat-heavy district, Lieu is expected to have a slight advantage.
In California’s 25th District, which represents northern Los Angeles County, two Republicans will face off to replace longtime incumbent Buck McKeon who also announced he would not be seeking reelection this year. Tony Strickland, a former State Senator, will face Stephen Knight, a current State Senator. While the race is close, the outcome will guarantee a Republican gets the seat.
Of the many races for the State Legislature, the race for the 32nd District is one of the more storied. Former Democratic state legislator Tony Mendoza will face Downey City Councilman Mario Guerra in a race that will decide who replaces embroiled State Senator Ron Calderon. Calderon was suspended from the legislature after being accused of corruption and taking bribes and was then termed out. The district represents areas such as Norwalk, Cerritos and Downey.
The battle for the 34th District in Orange County is seen as a key Sentate race for the Democrats, who hope to gain a supermajority. Democrat and former state Assemblymen Jose Solorio hopes to help win that supermajority by beating Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen, a Republican.
Los Angeles County Supervisor – District 3
Two democrats will compete to replace termed-out supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky in the Westside’s third district. Bobby Shriver, a former Santa Monica City Councilman and member of the Kennedy family, will go head to head with former state legislator Sheila Kuehl.
Los Angeles County Sheriff
Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell is favored to win the election against former Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, who placed a distant second in the primaries. McDonnell has won a laundry list of endorsements, including one from interim sheriff John Scott and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Since the primaries, Tanaka has kept mostly silent and otherwise abandoned campaigning. Whoever wins the election will take over the position that former sheriff Lee Baca left vacant following scandals in the Los Angeles County jail system.
Los Angeles County Assessor
The race is on to see who will replace current L.A. County Assessor John Noguez, who is currently awaiting trial on corruption charges. John Morris, a deputy district attorney will face West Hollywood City Councilman Jeffrey Prang, who also once worked for Noguez.
Orange County Supervisor – District 2
Board of Equalization Member Michelle Steel bills herself as “California’s top tax-fighter ” and is running on a campaign promising pension reform and a reduction in wasteful spending in Orange County. Allan Mansoor, a California Assemblyman, says he will shy away from special interests if elected and has become an outspoken leader in preventing Measure M tax dollars to fund toll lanes on the 405 Freeway.
Orange County Supervisor – District 5
The race for Orange County Supervisor in District 5 will see Dana Point Mayor Lisa Bartlett running against Robert Ming, a Laguna Niguel city councilman. Bartlett touts her experience with transportation, having served as the past Chairwoman of the Foothill Eastern SR-241 Toll Road while Ming is running on a platform of “integrity, fiscal responsibility and leadership.”