Government / Politics

Primary election shows San Benito is still a bellwether for the state

The county has grown more conservative, the results from June 7 show, but it still favors Democratic candidates.

While the low voter turnout in the June 7 primary election of 33.85% makes comparisons to previous elections difficult, San Benito County still trends closely enough to the Democratic Party’s ticket to be a bellwether for state office elections. 

In every contested office except that of state controller, Democrats defeated Republicans. However, in comparing the final county and state results, Republican candidates tend to do better in San Benito County, with their vote percentages being around eight points higher over the state’s. 

Some of the election percentages are skewed by the number of candidates in the race. Both Democrats and Republicans had lower percentages due to vote-splitting by candidates who received only 1% or 2% of the total vote.

Comparisons also have to take into account that primary elections tend to have lower turnouts than general elections. In 2018, for example, 43.7% of registered voters participated in the primary compared to 68.3% in the 2018 general election. In the 2020 general presidential election, 82.3% of registered voters participated.

Here is the breakdown for every statewide and district race:

 

Governor

Gavin Newsom (D) – Incumbent

  • SBC – 51.21% (6,305 votes) 
  • CA – 56% (3,898,562 votes) 

Brian Dahle (R) 

  • SBC – 17.06% (2,101 votes)
  • CA – 17.7% (1,228,767 votes) 

Newsom’s numbers in the county are down from those of the attempted recall in September 2021, when he received 9,295 votes or 59.20%. This outcome also falls short of the percentage of votes he received when he was elected governor in November 2018 with 11,274 votes or 56.12%. With 25 opponents in the race, only Newsom and Dahle received more than 5% of the statewide vote.

 

Lieutenant Governor

Eleni Kounalakis (D) – Incumbent

  • SBC – 50.7% (6,161 votes)
  • CA – 52.8% (3,572,181 votes)

David Fennell (R) 

  • SBC – 19.45% (2,364 votes)
  • CA – 13.4% (904,580 votes) 

Angela E. Underwood Jacobs (R) 

  • SBC – 18.69% (2,271 votes) 
  • CA – 19.8% (1,341,372 votes)

Kounalakis took 57.73% of the vote within the county in 2018 (9,733 votes). There were eight candidates in the race, five of whom each got less than 5% of the statewide vote.

 

Secretary of State

Shirley N. Weber (D) – Incumbent

  • SBC – 53.53% (6,411 votes) 
  • CA – 59.1% (3,967,075 votes)

Rob Bernosky (R) 

  • SBC – 23.81% (2,852 votes)
  • CA – 18.8% (1,259,618 votes)

Rachel Hamm (R)

  • SBC – 9.99% (1,197 votes)  
  • CA – 12.1% (817,114 votes)

James “JW” Paine (R)  

  • SBC – 7.18% (860 votes)
  • CA – 3.7% (251,840 votes) 

Weber was appointed to office on Jan. 29, 2021 by Newsom after Alex Padilla was appointed to the U.S. Senate. Three candidates not listed here each received less than 5% of the vote in San Benito County.

 

Controller

Lanhee Chen (R)

  • SBC – 39.21% (4,639 votes)
  • CA – 37.1% (2,487,338 votes)

Malia M. Cohen (D)

  • SBC – 19.86% (2,350 votes)
  • CA – 22.7% (1,522,476 votes)

Yvonne Yiu (D)

  • SBC – 14.88% (1,760 votes) 
  • CA – 15.1% (1,018,435 votes)

Steve Glazer (D)

  • SBC – 13.93% (1,648 votes)
  • CA – 11.1% (746,383 votes)

Ron Galperin (D)

  • SBC – 8.65% (1,023 votes)
  • CA – 10.2% (687,574 votes)

Laura Wells (Green)

  • SBC – 3.47% (411 votes)
  • CA – 3.8% (254,199 votes)

In the race to succeed the current controller, Betty Yee (D), four Democrats split the vote against one Republican and one Green Party candidate. The final percentages for the state vote are 59.1% Democratic, 37.1% Republican, and 3.8% Green Party, with Chen and Cohen advancing to the Nov. 8 general election. In 2018, Yee got 62.82% of the vote.

 

Treasurer

Fiona Ma (D) – Incumbent 

  • SBC – 53.66% (6,371 votes)
  • CA – 57.5% (3,851,709 votes)

Jack M. Guerrero (R)

  • SBC – 27.82% (3,303 votes)
  • CA – 21.8% (1,461,141 votes)

Andrew Do (R)

  • SBC – 16.22% (1,926 votes)
  • CA – 17.0% (1,137,769 votes)

Meghann Adams (Peace and Freedom)

  • 2.30% (273 votes) 
  • 3.6% (243,976 votes)

A loss of support for Ma, who received 62.82% of the vote in San Benito County in 2018 (12,533 votes).

 

Attorney General

Rob Bonta (D)

  • SBC – 50.70% (6,083 votes)
  • CA – 54.5% (3,711,510 votes) 

Eric Early (R)

  • SBC – 23.16% (2,779 votes) 
  • CA – 16.4% (1,120,136 votes) 

Nathan Hochman (R)

  • SBC – 16.94% (2,032 votes) 
  • CA – 18.1% (1,235,414 votes) 

Bonta was appointed to office by Newsom on April 23, 2021, following the resignation of Xavier Becerra, who left to become U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Joe Biden. Two candidates not listed here each received less than 5% of the statewide vote.

 

Insurance Commissioner

Ricardo Lara (D) – Incumbent

  • SBC – 37.96% (4,492 votes)
  • CA – 36.0% (2,385,736 votes)

Robert Howell (R)

  • SBC – 20.70% (2,450 votes)
  • CA – 18.0% (1,194,719 votes)

Greg Conlon (R)

  • SBC – 18.21% (2,155 votes)
  • CA – 16.1% (1,066,700 votes)

Marc Levine (D)

  • SBC – 14.69% (1,738 votes)
  • CA – 18.0% (1,194,842 votes) 

Lara took 52.02% of the vote in 2018 (9,996 votes). Five candidates not listed here each took less than 5% of the statewide vote.

 

State Superintendent of Public Instruction (non-partisan office)
Tony K. Thurmond – Incumbent 

  • SBC – 40.86% (4,587 votes)
  • CA – 46.0% (2,844,604 votes)

George Yang 

  • SBC – 12.20% (1,369 votes)  
  • CA – 11.0% (681,801 votes)

Lance Ray Christensen 

  • SBC -11.27% (1,265 votes)
  • CA – 11.9% (740,636 votes)

Ainye E. Long

  • SBC – 10.96% (1,230 votes)
  • CA – 11.1% (694,209 votes)

Jim Gibson 

  • SBC – 10.68% (1,199 votes) 
  • CA – 7.5% (465,037 votes)

Marco Amaral 

  • SBC – 9.28% (1,042 votes) 
  • CA – 8.7% (544,463 votes)

Joseph Guy Campbell

  • SBC – 4.75% (533 votes)  
  • CA – 3.8% (240,098 votes)

Thurmond is an anomaly. In the 2018 election, he ran against Marshall Tuck and lost San Benito County, 46.95% to 53.05%. However, he went on to win the election 50.9% to 49.1% statewide. His showing in San Benito County on June 7 suggests another very close result in November.

 

U.S. Senate (short term)

Alex Padilla (D) – Incumbent

  • SBC – 49.4% (5,839 votes)
  • CA – 54.3% (3,683,595 votes) 

Mark P. Meuser (R)

  • SBC – 23.71% (2,802 votes)
  • CA – 22.1% (1,477,389 votes)

 

U.S. Senate (full term)

Alex Padilla (D) – Incumbent

  • SBC – 48.56% (5,779 votes) 
  • CA – 54.3% (3,683,595 votes)

Mark P. Meuser (R)

  • SBC – 16.23% (1,931 votes)
  • CA – 14.9% (1,010,172 votes) 

Padilla was appointed by Newsom on Jan. 20, 2021, to fill the seat vacated by Kamala Harris, who had been elected vice president. That appointment ends on Nov. 8. By winning the short-term election, Padilla will fill the rest of Harris’ term, which ends January 2023. With 23 candidates for the full term, only Padilla and Meuser received more than 6% of the San Benito County vote.

 

U.S. House Of Representatives District 18 

Zoe Lofgren (D) – Incumbent 

  • SBC – 47.19% (5,598 votes)
  • CA – 56.1% (49,839 votes)

Peter Hernandez (R)

  • SBC – 43.27% (5,133 votes)
  • CA – 31.3% (27,815 votes)

Luis Acevedo-Arreguin (D)

  • SBC – 9.54% (1,132 votes)
  • CA – 12.5% (11,143 votes)

Prior to the 2022 redistricting, San Benito County was in District 20 and represented by Jimmy Panetta (D) who won with 66.56% of the county’s votes (18,735 votes). Lofgren was elected to District 19 in November 2020 with 71.7% of the district’s vote (224,385 votes). Hernandez gained a larger percentage of votes in this county as opposed to the rest of District 18, possibly reflecting his higher profile as San Benito County Supervisor.

 

State Assembly District 29

Robert Rivas (D)

  • SBC – 58.99% (7,225 votes) 
  • CA – 64.3% (37,744 votes)

Stephanie L. Castro (R)

  • SBC – 41.01% (5,022 votes) 
  • CA – 35.7% (20,980 votes)

Prior to the 2022 redistricting, San Benito County was represented by Rivas as District 30. He won that office in 2020 by a larger percentage—62.20% of the San Benito County vote (12,450).

 

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Robert Eliason

I got my start as a photographer when my dad stuck a camera in my hand on the evening of my First Grade Open House. He taught me to observe, empathize, then finally compose the shot.  The editors at BenitoLink first approached me as a photographer. They were the ones to encourage me to write stories about things that interest me, turning me into a reporter as well.  BenitoLink is a great creative family that cares deeply about the San Benito community and I have been pleased to be a part of it.