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San Diego County Voters Head To The Polls

Reported by Katie Schoolov

San Diego County Voters Head To The Polls

GUEST:

Kenny Goldberg, reporter, KPBS News

Transcript

After months of debates, rallies and political ads, voters in San Diego County will head to the polls Tuesday for the California primary election.

Registrar of Voters Michael Vu said on Monday he expects 55 percent to 60 percent of the county's 1.5 million registered voters will cast ballots in the election. An analysis by the National University System Institute for Policy Research predicts a slightly lower turnout of 50 percent to 53 percent.

After months of debates, rallies and political ads, the California primary election is here. Democrats will decide between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, San Diegans will vote for mayor, some North County voters will cast ballots for county supervisor. And there's more.

Special Feature Voter Guide

The county's 1,500 polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. If you need helping finding where you're supposed to vote, you can go online to the registrar's website.

About 30 percent of the 970,000 voters who requested mail-in ballots had returned them as of Monday, Vu said, and more are expected to be returned on Tuesday. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday and received by the registrar by Friday to be counted.

You also can drop off mail-in ballots at one of 23 locations throughout the county, or at a polling place on Tuesday.

One choice voters will be making is in the presidential primary. Republicans know that Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee, though some may still cast votes for other names on the ballot. On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will learn who prevailed with the state's voters.

Here are some of the other races to watch as the results come in Tuesday night beginning at 8 p.m.:

U.S. Senate

The contest to replace U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is retiring, is one of the state’s most closely watched races. California Attorney Kamala Harris is considered the front-runner, with Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Orange County her likely challenger in November. Both are Democrats, and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, go on to the fall election.

The three Republicans with a chance to win a spot on the November ballot are Tom Del Beccaro and Duf Sundheim, both former state GOP chairmen, and software developer Ron Unz, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in the 1990s.

U.S. Congress

The 52nd Congressional District race pits two-term incumbent Democrat Scott Peters against five Republicans. Businesswoman Denise Gitsham and Marine veteran Jacquie Atkinson are Peters’ biggest challengers.

The nationally watched district, which includes La Jolla, Coronado and Rancho Bernardo, is competitive because one-third of the district's registered voters are Republican, a third are Democrats and a third decline to state a preference.

San Diego mayor

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Early on in the race for San Diego mayor, incumbent Republican Kevin Faulconer appeared headed for a win with no challengers. Then former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, a Democrat turned independent, entered the race this year, followed by city lifeguard Ed Harris, a Democrat.

Faulconer is considered the favorite, and if he wins more than 50 percent of the vote on Tuesday, he will be re-elected.

San Diego city attorney

San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith can't seek re-election because of term limits, and five candidates are vying for his seat.

The crowded field likely means none will get enough votes to skip a November runoff. All are attorneys. Four are Democrats — Gil Cabrera, Rafael Castellanos, Mara Elliott and Bryan Pease. Robert Hickey is the lone Republican.

The top two vote-getters will face off in the November general election.

San Diego City Council

Five of nine San Diego City Council seats are up for election this year. Voters in San Diego City Council District 1, which spans north coastal neighborhoods, may well decide who will control the officially nonpartisan body. The likely front-runners to replace termed-out District 1 incumbent Sherri Lightner are Barbara Bry, a Democrat, and Ray Ellis, a Republican.

In the race for the District 3 seat now held by Democratic Councilman Todd Gloria, the two major candidates are Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward. Both are Democrats.

The two Republican incumbents who represent council Districts 5 and 7 are hoping to win outright Tuesday and avoid November runoffs. Councilman Mark Kersey represents District 5, which includes Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Peñasquitos and Scripps Ranch. The district is the only one in the city with more registered Republicans than Democrats.

Councilman Scott Sherman represents District 7, which includes Tierrasanta, Mission Valley and Linda Vista. Registered Democrats have a slight margin in the district, giving Sherman's competitors campaign fuel.

Voters in City Council District 9, stretching through Kensington, City Heights and Mountain View, will elect their first Latino representative.

Competing for the seat held now by Democrat Marti Emerald, who is retiring, are Ricardo Flores, Georgette Gomez, Araceli Martinez and Sarah Saez. All are Democrats.

San Diego County supervisor

Incumbent Supervisor Dave Roberts, a Democrat, is facing competition for the District 3 seat from two North County Republicans — Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar and Escondido Mayor Sam Abed. Roberts, who was elected in 2012, was the first Democrat elected to the county Board of Supervisors in 20 years.

If none of the candidates wins more than 50 percent of the vote on Tuesday, the top two vote-getters will face off in November.

Proposition H

Proposition H, also known as Rebuild San Diego, was spearheaded by City Councilman Mark Kersey to fix San Diego's crumbling roads and infrastructure. It could raise as much as $4 billion over the next 25 years without raising taxes, though some critics question that figure. It would generate revenue by:

• Reserving any growth in the city's sales tax revenues above the rate of the Consumer Price Index and capturing all cash savings from reduced payments to the city’s pension fund as the pension deficit is paid down.

• Capturing 50 percent of all growth in revenues from property taxes and hotel taxes and franchise fees over the next five years.

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