Incumbents maintain lead in primary races

Voters drop their ballots in a drop box at the Valencia Library in Valencia on Tuesday, 060722. Dan Watson/The Signal

The incumbent candidates fighting to hold onto their seats representing the Santa Clarita Valley have largely maintained their leads in their respective races heading into the weekend, according to the California Secretary of State’s website.  

Since Tuesday evening, Republican Rep. Mike Garcia and Democratic challenger Christy Smith have held the top two spots to move on to the General Election this fall, with Garcia holding 38,987 (48.3%) to Smith’s 29,622 (36.7%).  

Behind them sit Democrat Quaye Quartey with 5,033 (6.2%) votes, Democrat Ruth Luevanos has 4,220 (5.2%), Republican David Rudnick has 1,897 (2.3%) and Republican Mark Pierce has 1,025 (1.3%).  

Except for the U.S. president, county central committees, or local office elections, California has followed for the last decade the “Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act,” meaning the two candidates who move on from the primary races are decided purely on total vote count, regardless of party affiliation.   

Sitting Republican Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares continues to be up front by a wide margin in the Assembly District 40 race, holding 32,497 (49.3%) of the total votes to Democrat Pilar Schiavo’s 20,529 (31.1%) and Democrat Annie Cho’s 12,898 (19.6%).  

The seat, which Valladares currently represents, will change designations come the new term, changing from Assembly District 38 to Assembly District 40. The new district expands the current borders to the south and encompasses a majority of the Santa Clarita Valley.  

Assembly District 36, which is currently represented by Republican Assemblyman Tom Lackey, will be changed to Assembly District 34 and add Agua Dulce to its borders.   

Lackey narrowly trails Republican Thurston “Smitty” Smith, who is also an incumbent candidate as he and Lackey were placed into the same district as a result of post-Census redistricting. They have 14,466 (29.2%) and 15,022 (30.3%) votes, respectively.  

Democrat Rita Ramirez, who previously led Lackey on election night, is in third place with 13,987 (28.2%), Democrat Raj Kahlon is in fourth with (5.5%), Republican Paul Fournier 2,005 (4.0%) and Republican Roger LaPlante holds 1,431 (2.9%) of the total votes already counted. 

Sheriff Alex Villanueva leads a pack of nine candidates jockeying to be L.A. County’s top cop, with the incumbent holding 300,508 (33.06%) of the total votes. Challengers Robert Luna and Eric Strong have 232,948 (25.63%) and 118,759 (13.07%) of the total votes already counted, respectively.     

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