Voters in California’s 25th Congressional District made history Tuesday when they gave the go-ahead to Republicans Tony Strickland and Steve Knight. It’s the first time two members of the same party are lined up to fight each other for the seat in the general election.
It’s a quirk of California’s relatively new “top two” voting system where the two highest vote-getters in the primary election, regardless of party affiliation, advance to a November run-off.
The odd man out was Democrat Lee Rogers, a Simi Valley podiatrist who was making his second bid for the office in as many years. He finished 6 percentage points out of the running.
Strickland, a former state lawmaker who lives outside of the district but won the endorsement of the current office holder, Rep. Buck McKeon, vastly out-raised and out-spent Knight, a sitting state senator who represents the Antelope Valley and half of the Santa Clarita Valley. But despite a flurry of last-minute hit mailers from the Strickland camp attacking Knight, Strickland had just a 1-point lead to show for it.
Strickland finished with 29.4 percent to Knight’s 28.3 percent in what’s considered a “safe” Republican district.
Rogers, at 22.4 percent, split the Democratic vote with Evan Thomas, who polled 9.8 percent.
Next in line were Troy Castagna (R), 5.9 percent; David Koster Bruce (L), 1.8 percent, Michael Mussack (ind.), 1.4 percent; and Navraj Singh (R), 1.1 percent.
Other Local Races
Of all the candidates for local partisan office, incumbent Republican Scott Wilk won by the widest margin. His 66 percent put him 32 points ahead of Democrat Jorge Salomon Fuentes. The two candidates for 38th Assembly District will see each other again in November.
In the 36th Assembly District, incumbent Democrat Steve Fox – who won his first term by a razor-thin margin in 2012 – polled in second place at 32.9 percent. He’ll face Republican challenger Tom Lackey, a Palmdale city councilman, who garnered 41.7 percent. Out of the running in third place at 11.9 percent was J.D. Kennedy, a former McKeon staffer known locally for his work on behalf of military veterans and their families.
Republican George Runner commanded a sizable lead in his bid for another term on the state Board of Equalization. Runner, with 59.7 percent, will face Democrat Chris Parker (40.3 percent) in the general.
If there’s a new sheriff in town, his name is Jim McDonnell. The Long Beach police chief garnered 49.15 percent of the vote, besting a field of six other candidates. But he’s not there yet.
Had McDonnell polled 50 percent-plus-1 vote, he’d be sheriff-elect. (County elections work differently.) He narrowly missed the magic number, so he’ll face Paul Tanaka (14.74 percent) in November.
The race for Assessor was far tighter. Jeffrey Prang finished first with 18.06 percent; he’ll face John Morris (16.4 percent) in November. John Wong led a list of 10 people who won’t be back this year.
Los Angeles County has a new supervisor in the 1st District to succeed Gloria Molina, who’s term-limited out. Veteran politico Hilda Solis, President Obama’s Secretary of Labor from 2009 to 2013, trounced her two opponents with 70.32 percent of the vote.
In the 3rd District, another veteran Democratic lawmaker (and former child actress), Sheila Kuehl, finished in first place at 36.18 percent over Bobby Shriver (28.8 percent) to succeed Zev Yaroslavsky. They’ll square off in November.