While the number and boundaries for the district may be relatively new, the voters of newly designated 27th Congressional District — the seat that represents much of northern L.A. County, including the Santa Clarita Valley — opted Tuesday to give two familiar candidates an early lead in the race to the 2022 General Election this fall.
Despite a number of new names making up this year’s pool seeking to win the local congressional seat, incumbent Republican Mike Garcia and Democrat challenger Christy Smith led the early returns among the six total candidates Tuesday night.
Since January 2011, California has followed 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.
Upon polls closing at 8 p.m. and with the initial ballot returns coming in, Garcia led with 21,984 votes, or 42.8% of the counted votes thus far, to Smith’s 21,241, or 41.3%. Democrat Quaye Quartey was in third with 3,342 (6.5%) and Democrat Ruth Luevanos was in fourth with 2,961 (5.8%). Republican candidates David Rudnick and Mark Pierce had 1,189 (2.3%) and 700 (1.4%) of the votes, respectively.
However, officials said election results will change throughout the canvass period as vote-by-mail ballots, provisional ballots (including conditional voter registration provisional ballots), and other ballots are tallied.
“Our country is at a crossroads with a number of critical challenges staring us down,” Garcia said in a statement distributed Tuesday night. “Inflation is out of control, and local families are struggling to afford trips to the grocery store and the gas station. Cost of living and gas taxes continue to increase. And crime is on the rise as chaos continues abroad. The American Dream is evaporating for California families. Make no mistake – we cannot afford Joe Biden and Christy Smith’s failed progressive agenda.”
“Voters will have a choice this November between two diametrically contrasting visions,” Smith said in a statement of her own Tuesday night. “One that will protect reproductive rights or one that is eager to gut them. One that understands that gun safety is paramount to safe communities or one that’s in lock-step with the NRA. And one that will fight to support Americans who work hard and feel like they are falling further behind. I look forward to presenting that choice to the people of this district over the course of the next several months.”
As for the state elections, the incumbent Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares, who currently represents Assembly District 38 but is running to hold the seat under its new designation, Assembly District 40, holds the lead among the pool of three candidates with 18,020 (44.1%), to Democrat Pilar Schiavo’s 13,665 (33.4%) and Democrat Annie Cho’s 9,199 (22.5%).
“This election will not be easy, but we can and will win,” Valladares said in a statement distributed on Tuesday. “Our future should be and is bright. We cannot afford to go back to the negative and backward policies that have made California unaffordable, made our energy more expensive, and driven so many Californians away from this great state. I will work around the clock to educate voters on the issues critical to the future of my community.”
In Assembly District 36, which will change to Assembly District 34 come the new term, incumbent Republican Assemblyman Tom Lackey trails Democratic challenger Rita Ramirez Dean 9,452 (33.2%) to 7,907 (27.8%).
Republican Thurston “Smitty” Smith is in third 7,370 (25.9%), Democrat Raj Kahlon has 1,823 (6.4%), Paul Fournier holds 997 (3.5%) and no party preference candidate Roger LaPlante has 908 (3.2%). Thurston Smith is also an Assembly incumbent — he and Lackey were placed in the same district due to redistricting.
County elections showed incumbent Sheriff Alex Villanueva leading his race Tuesday night with 182,193 (31.47%) of the total votes, and was trailed by Robert Luna with 157,339 (27.17%) and the third-place Eric Strong with 73,189 (12.64%) votes.
The 2022 General Election is scheduled to take place on Nov. 8.