The election to choose candidates for governor, secretary of state
and numerous legislative and congressional offices could be the
kickoff to a long and politically bloody election season for
Democrats, as the state's open primary system allows the top two
vote-getters, regardless of party, to square off against each other
in November, and in many cases both will be Democrats.
"Itís going to be like scorpions in a bottle," said political
analyst David Mark, editor of the Palo Alto based website Politix.
In Los Angeles, 18 candidates were certified to run for the seat
being vacated by retiring Congressman Henry Waxman, including former
City Council member and mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel, State
Senator Ted Lieu and New Age inspirational author Marianne
The two who receive the most votes Tuesday will then square off in a
contest expected to get ugly quickly, Mark said.
Several races involve candidates who have been allied with the
state's powerful labor unions running against fellow Democrats who
In the contest for Superintendent of Education, incumbent Tom
Torlakson has strong financial backing from teachers unions, while
former charter school executive Marshall Tuck is calling for changes
abhorrent to labor, including a lessening of seniority protections
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Silicon Valley Congressman Mike Honda has pushed for higher minimum
wages and has strong support among labor unions. Opponent Ro Khanna,
a lawyer and former U.S. Commerce Department official, has support
from powerful tech leaders, including Facebook executive and "Lean
In" author Sheryl Sandberg.
"Itís the sort of old school labor establishment vs. tech start-up
clash I think weíll see more of in coming years," said Mark.
In the race for governor, there is little doubt that the top
vote-getter will be incumbent Jerry Brown, a Democrat who has
steered the state on a moderate course and has high approval
Fissures in that race are more likely to show among Republicans, as
state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, an anti-illegal immigration activist
with support from the party's conservative base, fights for a spot
on November's ballot against Neel Kashkari, a moderate who worked
for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)
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