No matter who wins, 2022 will be an important election year for Fullertonians. From House of Representative members to State legislative seats to various County-level positions, Fullerton voters will have no shortage of issues and candidates to consider and pay attention to while filling out their ballots. To break it all down, here’s a summary of this year’s most critical races. The primary election is on June 7.
House of Representatives
On the federal level, Fullerton will now be split between California’s 45th and 46th Districts in the House of Representatives, and primaries for both will occur on June 7. In the 45th district, incumbent Michelle Steel, a Republican, faces multiple challengers, including Democrats Jay Chen and Joseph Cho, in addition to Republican Long Pham. Meanwhile, the 46th District will have incumbent Democrat Lou Correa face off against Democrat Michael Ortega, as well as Republicans Christopher Gonzales, Mike Nguyen, and Felix Rocha, Jr., plus independent Ed Rushman. Under California law, the top two finishers in both races will advance on to the general election in November, regardless of their political party affiliations.
On the State level, Governor Gavin Newsom, fresh from a landslide victory in last year’s recall attempt, will be facing a regular re-election, with his currently declared challengers being Republicans Brain Dahle, Laura Smith, Anthony Trimino, and Major Williams, as well as independent Michael Shellenberger. Like the congressional races, the initial primary will be held on June 7, and the top two finishers, regardless of their political party, will compete in the November general election.
For the California State Assembly, Assembly District 67, which represents southwest Fullerton, will see incumbent Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva, a Democrat, be challenged by fellow Democrat Param Brar and Republican Sou Moua. In Assembly District 59, which represents the remaining northeastern portion of Fullerton, incumbent Philip Chen, a Republican, is running for re-election. So far, no challengers are seeking to replace him at the State Capitol in Sacramento.
Incumbent Tom Umberg, a Democrat, will be running for re-election against Republican Rhonda Shader in the California State Senate’s 34th District, which now includes southern and western Fullerton after redistricting. However, the State Senate’s 37th district, which includes northern and eastern Fullerton and is currently represented by Democrat Josh Newman, will not be up for re-election until 2024. (State Senators serve four-year terms.)
OC Board of Supervisors
County-level races have seen much interest, with several candidates running for positions on the Orange County Board of Supervisors. In the Board of Supervisors’ 4th District, which contains all of Fullerton, incumbent Supervisor Doug Chaffee faces several challengers, including Sunny Park, the current Mayor of Buena Park, and Brea City Councilmember Stephen C. Vargas, according to the Voice of OC. Although the Supervisor position is officially non-partisan, Chaffee and Park are affiliated with the Democratic Party and Vargas with the Republican Party. To win the election, the top candidate must win at least 50% of the vote in June’s primary election. Otherwise, the top two contenders will continue on to the November election.
OC District Attorney
In this year’s District Attorney race, incumbent Todd Spitzer, faced with controversy over remarks that critics have considered to be racist, quoting the “n-word” while reading a transcript related to a hate crime as well as allegedly stating that he “knows many Black people who get themselves out of their bad circumstances and bad situations by only dating white women,” according to CBS News. Spitzer’s challengers include Peter Hardin, a former Special Assistant United States Attorney, Michael Jacobs, a former Orange County Deputy District Attorney, and Bryan Chehock. According to the Voice of OC, Hardin has faced his own issues with his supposedly “womanizing” behavior while working as a prosecutor at the Orange County District Attorney’s office. A major theme in the race, following several District Attorney races nationwide, is the contrast between Spitzer’s “tough on crime” approach to prosecutions as opposed to Hardin’s more progressive stances on criminal justice, such as ending the use of cash bail as well as the use of the death penalty. Although the position is officially non-partisan, Spitzer identifies as a Republican while Hardin is affiliated with the Democratic Party. Similar to the Board of Supervisors, candidates in the District Attorney’s race must win at least 50% of the vote in the primary on June 7. Otherwise, the top two finishers will advance to the general election in November.
OC Board of Education
Among the County-level races, some of the most contentious races involve education, in a time where important national controversies include the supposed teaching of so-called “critical race theory” in schools, as well as the roles public schools and charter schools should play in K-12 education. Area 4 of the Orange County Board of Education, which represents all of Fullerton, will have incumbent Trustee Tim Shaw face off against opponents Paulette Chaffee, Elissa Kim, and David Choi. Unlike the previous races mentioned, the June primary will serve as the only election for this position, allowing one to win the race even if they receive only a plurality below 50%. Additionally, incumbent Orange County Superintendent of Schools Al Mijares is being challenged by Stefan Bean, whom Fullerton College political science professor Jodi Balma has described as having pro-charter school positions and conservative leanings. Symbolic of the increasing importance of education issues, this race, which Balma describes as “one that is usually not particularly politically controversial,” may have national implications.
Overall, 2022 will be a busy election year, with numerous races up and down the ballot. Regardless of their political stances, voters should investigate the positions on which they are voting in order to select the candidates they think will best represent Fullerton’s interests while in office.
Categories: Local Government