Voters will go to the polls Tuesday to pick the two candidates in the summer showdown that will culminate in one winner being elected on the first Tuesday in November.
Those vying for the top two spots have had their auditions, been coached by the experts, faced the tabloids and gossiblogs and come out to face the final judges – those people with permanent markers in the fold-up voting booths.
Santa Clarita voters will be asked to pick seven people from a field of 65 candidates – 23 presidential hopefuls, 24 who seek the prefix “U.S. Senator” on their holiday cards and thankfully, smaller groups looking to serve the public as Representatives, state Senate and Assembly members, district attorneys or county supervisors.
Many voters have chosen to vote by mail, making their choices early, causing forum organizers to scramble candidates together before absentee deadlines and often missing the onslaught of campaign mailers that are giving the ailing U.S. Postal Service a shot in the final arm.
But some people, like those who favor turning the pages of newspapers and books over surfing an iPad or Kindle for information, will go to the polls Tuesday and send some candidates forward and mercifully ending a quest for others.
If you haven’t looked at your ballot, here’s a glance at who wants to make decisions for you. In the highest office in the land, there are the two most likely contenders, President Barack Obama (a Democrat) and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who has already earned enough support to be the party’s representative without California’s help.
But there are also several other names on the ballot if those two choices aren’t for you. Hoping for a few clicks of their own are Republicans Newt Gingrich, Fred Karger, Ron Paul, Charles “Buddy” Roemer and Rick Santorum; American Independents Laurie Roth, Edwards Noonan and Mad Max Rieske; Green Party candidates Roseanne Barr, Ken Mesplay and Jill Stein; Libertarians Barbara Joy Waymire, Lee Wrights, Roger Gary, R.J. Harris, James Ogle, Gary Johnson, Scott Keller, Carl Person and Bill Still and Peace and Freedom hopeful Stephen Durham.
For U.S. Senator, Republicans Nachum Shifren, Dennis Jackson, Dan Hughes, Greg Conlon, John Boruff, Oscar Alejandro Braun, Elizabeth Emken, Rick Williams, Rogelio T. Gloria, Robert Lauten, Orly Taitz, Al Ramirez, Dirk Allen Konopik and Donald Krampe are in the running with Democrats Nak Shah, incumbent Dianne Feinstein, Colleen Shea Fernald, David Alex Levitt, Mike Strimling and Diane Stewart; Peace and Freedom candidates Marsha Feinland and Kabiruddin Karin Ali; American Independent Don J. Grundman and Libertarian Gail K. Lightfoot.
You’ve probably read the most about the local contests, with forums sponsored by media outlets and various political groups that featured 25th District Congressional hopefuls Lee Rogers (Democrat) and Republicans incumbent Buck McKeon, Dante Acosta and Cathie Wright. The 38th Assembly seat is also hotly contested with four hopefuls, including Republicans Paul Strickland, Scott Thomas Wilk and Patrician McKeon and Democrat Edwards Headington hoping to take the Sacramento seat being vacated by former Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth.
Many locals will also cast a vote for 21st District State Senate, choosing between one Republican, Steve Knight (currently serving in the Assembly) and Democrat Star Moffatt.
In the nonpartisan District Attorney fray, there are six players hoping to step into Steve Cooley’s shoes, including Jackie Lacey, Carmen Trutanich, Alan Jackson, Danette Meyers, John L. Breault III and Bobby Grace.
And for the office of County Supervisor, the 5th District incumbent Michael Antonovich is running against Antelope Valley business owner Raj Pal Kahlon.
And don’t forget the ballot measures, including:
Prop. 28 which would reduce the total amount of time a person may serve in the state legislature from 14 to 12 years, allowing 12 years of service in one house and applies only to those legislators newly elected after the measure’s approval. Supporters (from the state Primary Election booklet) include the League of Women Voters of California, California Common Cause, Congress of California Seniors and the California Fair Political Practices Commission. Opponents include People’s Advocate, Inc., Californians for Term Limits, Americans for Prosperity, U.S. Term Limits, Parents In Charge Foundation and the National Tax Limitation Committee.
Prop. 29, which imposes an extra dollar tax on cigarettes and an equivalent tax increase on other tobacco products to raise money for cancer and tobacco-related disease research. Supporters include the American Cancer Society California Division, the American Lung Association in California, the American Heart Association, Western States Affiliates, Women’s Cancer Program, Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Nobel Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn, Ph.D and Dr. Balazs “Ernie” Bodai, M.D., founder of the Breast Cancer Stamp. Opponents include a former director of the California Department of Finance, the past president of the Los Angeles County Medical Association and a retired executive from the California State Board of Education, the California Taxpayers Association, the former president of the Golden State Medical Association and the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce.
There are also some apparently non-controversial county measures, including:
Measure H – which would continue the existing 12 percent county hotel room tax and Measure L – which would continue the existing 10 percent tax on landfill operators’ gross receipts from waste disposals in landfills located in unincorporated areas of the county.
So there you have it. Your responsibility extends to taking a few moments to go to the polling place and making 11 choices. As we’ve all seen, your choices do influence our future. Do it because you can.