Central Coast Stays Blue
First open primary doesn’t change the liberal composition of Monterey County reps.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
State and national candidates saw no major upsets in the state’s first open primary.
As of Wednesday morning, June 6, the Democrats representing Monterey County in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., saw little reason to sweat.
The State Senate District 17 race went swimmingly for current Assemblyman Bill Monning, D-Carmel, who landed 59.2 percent of the vote to Republican challenger Larry Beaman’s 40.8.
“We expect those numbers will only hold in November,” Monning says, adding that he’s more concerned about getting a state budget passed within the next two weeks.
In Assembly District 29 (the seat being vacated by Monning), Santa Cruz county supervisor Mark Stone won 54.7 percent, trouncing fellow Democrat Bob Fultz, who trailed with 13.5 percent.
Republican Tom Walsh, with 31.8 percent, will take on Stone in November.
Stone says he’s honored to win almost 50 percent of the vote in Monterey County, where he’s not well known.
“I was pleased that people were willing to take a chance,” he says. He pledges to prioritize campaign issues including education, social services and the environment.
In State Assembly District 30, incumbent Democrat Luis Alejo held a commanding lead over Republican challenger Rob Bernosky, 58.4 to 41.6 percent, a reassuring sign for Alejo’s camp come November.
“The numbers will only get better,” Alejo says. “Even if I do the same then as I am doing now, it’s a testament that I have gained the trust of my constituents during my time in office.”
The newly redrawn Senate district means Alejo also will represent the Big Sur Coast, something he’s looking forward to. “I want to get to know the people of the most beautiful coastline in the world,” he says.
The seven-way bid for Congressional District 20 was a wash, with 19-year incumbent Sam Farr, D-Carmel, securing almost 65 percent of the vote. Republican agribusinessman Jeff Taylor trailed with about 22 percent.
The vote suggests Farr’s seat will be pretty safe in the November general election.
“To get over 50 percent in every county I was running in, I was very pleased with that,” he says.
In a 24-way race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Democrat Dianne Feinstein scored 49.3 percent of the vote. Republican Elizabeth Emken came in a distant second with 12.5 percent; the two will face off in November.
Californians passed Proposition 28 at 61.4 percent, limiting legislators’ time in Sacramento to 12 years. That’s two years less than the current maximum, which gives politicians up to three two-year Assembly terms and two four-year Senate terms, but the new law allows them to remain in one house throughout their tenure.
Proposition 29, however, didn’t fare as well. As of June 6, 50.8 percent of voters had rejected a $1-per-pack additional tax on cigarettes for cancer research, but the vote could swing as late and absentee ballots are counted.
The presidential primary yielded no surprises: Republican Mitt Romney bagged 79.6 percent of the vote in California, with Ron Paul second at 10.2 percent.
California’s vote only deepens the suspense for Romney versus Barack Obama in November.
Mary Duan and Sara Rubin contributed to this report.