Harris’ Bid for Office Lost in ‘Jungle’

In a typical primary, San Marino resident Cole Harris might have emerged last week as the Republican Party’s nominee for lieutenant governor for November’s general election. But California’s “jungle” primary system froze him out as the third-place finisher behind two Democrats.
Harris, who entered the race relatively late and ran a campaign focused on unaffiliated frequent voters, received 878,592 votes in the June 5 primary election, with 100% of precincts reporting. (Absentee and other votes-by-mail are still being counted, but are not expected to sway results.) His showing represented 18% of the statewide vote, well ahead of the three other Republican candidates.
However, California’s primary system advances the top two vote-getters to the general election, meaning that Eleni Kounalakis and Ed Hernandez, two Democrats, will be the options in November after taking 23.8% and 20.4% of the vote, respectively.
In Democrat-heavy Los Angeles County, Harris again finished third, but with 13.6% (126,785 votes).
Harris distinguished himself in San Marino with a leading 572 votes, followed by 331 for Hernandez and 240 for Kounalakis.
Incumbents across the primary ballot generally fared well in San Marino, as they tend to do in politics. For those races without a seated candidate, San Marino voters gravitated toward Republican candidates, as they historically have done, with an exception in 2016 when a supermajority of residents voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.
Republican John Cox, who finished second statewide to advance as a candidate for governor, had 610 votes from San Marino, followed by 505 for Democrat John Chiang. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who will face Cox this November after topping the gubernatorial primary, had 331 votes from San Marino.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a Democrat who is seeking re-election, had 736 San Marino votes, merely one vote ahead of Republican Mark Meuser; both will appear again in November’s contest.
Incumbent state Controller Betty Yee, a Democrat, received 971 votes from San Marino in her re-election bid. She will face Republican Konstantinos Roditis, who had 723 votes from San Marino.
Although incumbent Democrats performed favorably in San Marino, races with multiple candidates from both the Democratic and Republican parties produced an overall slant toward Republican candidates.
Incumbents were favored across the board among the federal positions.
Longtime U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein had 762 votes in San Marino, well ahead of any rival, as she pursues a sixth term. The 11 Republican candidates netted a total of 633 votes from San Marino, although none of them advanced to challenge Feinstein; fellow Democrat Kevin de Leon will face Feinstein in November.
U.S. Rep. Judy Chu, a Democrat, had 1,157 votes from San Marino in her re-election bid, and Democratic state Assemblyman Ed Chau had 965 votes in his effort to retain office.
San Marino had 1,929 ballots cast among 8,172 registered voters, representing a paltry 23.6% turnout; that nevertheless was better than the overall 22% turnout across the state. All results were current as of Tuesday.

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