California primary elections: Results to look out for


Via Andre M, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Californians voted on local and statewide government throughout the state in last Tuesday’s primary elections.

On last Tuesday, June 9, primary elections occurred across California; citizens voted on statewide and local positions including governor, Congressional representative, secretary of state and attorney general. The top two candidates based on the primary results will then move onto a general election in November, regardless of party affiliation. Here are some of the winners for state and local districts.

Governor Gavin Newsom coasts to victory

Newsom, elected to the governor’s office in 2018, came out on top in California’s gubernatorial primary, with Republican Brian Dahle taking a distant second. Despite facing an unsuccessful recall challenge last year on the basis of perceived COVID-19 mismanagement and a series of leadership blunders, Newsom is poised to easily win his re-election this November. 

House Representative Anna Eshoo wins re-election

Democrat Eshoo, who has represented Silicon Valley in the federal House of Representatives since 1993, secured another victory in her primary election, with Saratoga city council member Rishi Kumar placing second in early results. Eshoo, whose district includes parts of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties including Los Altos and Mountain View, faced an abnormally intense election, with Democrats like Palo Alto city council member Greg Tanaka, lawyer Ajwang Rading and Kumar vying for the seat. Republicans Peter Ohtaki and Richard Fox also ran, taking the third-place and fourth-place spots. However, Eshoo overcame the wider playing field. Kumar came in second against Eshoo in 2020 and will likely be Eshoo’s challenger in the general election. 

San Francisco recalls its District Attorney

In a widely-publicized election, San Francisco, Calif. voted to oust Democratic District Attorney Chesa Boudin. Elected in 2019, Boudin advocated a progressive, reformist agenda, largely focused on incarceration policy and crime — one that he followed up on by ending cash bail and working to reduce imprisonment. However, amid a rise in crime and other coinciding crises across San Francisco, disillusionment with Boudin grew among Democrats and Republicans alike, eventually leading to his decisive recall. Boudin will leave office 10 days after the San Francisco Board of Supervisors certifies the recall. San Francisco mayor London Breed will then name a temporary replacement, who will serve until elections occur in November. 

Other elections

  • State Assembly District 23: In California’s redistricted State Assembly District 23, which includes Los Altos and Mountain View, Democratic incumbent Marc Berman will face moderate Republican Tim Dec in November. Both candidates had no primary opposition. Berman has held the seat since 2016.
  • Attorney General: Incumbent Rob Bonta, a Democrat, led the race for state attorney general. Bonta was appointed by Governor Newsom to succeed Xavier Becerra after Becerra joined the Biden presidential administration as Secretary of Health and Human Services in 2021. He will most likely face a Republican challenger in November.
  • Secretary of State: Shirley Weber, another Newsom appointee (picked to replace Alex Padilla, who replaced now-Vice President Kamala Harris in the Senate), handily won Republican challenges to her seat. Weber will face San Benito County Republican Party chairman Rob Bernosky in the general election.
  • Controller: The election for California’s State Controller (who manages state and local budgets) has been closely-watched by Republicans, whose Lanhee Chen has a chance of being California’s first Republican statewide official in decades. Chen won the race by a solid margin, and will almost certainly face a Democratic opponent later this year in what could be a rare victory for conservative Californians.