Limón, Cunningham also poised for victory
Steve Bennett, Ventura County supervisor and Democrat candidate for State Assembly, appears likely to beat Republican Charles Cole in the race for California State Assembly District 37.
As of 10:00 p.m. Tuesday, Mr. Bennett led with 73.36% of the votes with 74 of 152 precincts reporting compared to Mr. Cole’s 26.64%, according to the Santa Barbara County Elections website.
The Democratic candidate said of the preliminary numbers, “I feel good about the results so far and I appreciate the support of the voters in Santa Barbara County, and I’m looking forward to getting up to Sacramento and getting to work. We need all hands on deck because California has a lot of challenges.”
Speaking to the News-Press last month, Mr. Bennett said he wants to bring fiscal responsibility to the State Assembly as well as environmentalism in an effort to combat climate change. Other priorities of his include providing affordable housing to Californians and improving K-12 education by getting increased national-level resources to support schools.
Mr. Cole’s campaign, on the other hand, stressed deregulation of businesses, cutting taxes, and improving public education by getting rid of what he sees as one-sided, left-wing politics infecting school curriculum.
While Mr. Cole told the News-Press on Tuesday that he wanted to sleep on the results and see how the numbers look today, he will accept that Mr. Bennet won election if there’s no path to victory.
“If they say there’s absolutely no way, then I will concede,” he said.
In the race for state Senate District 19, Democrat candidate and 37th District Assembly member Monique Limón appears poised to beat Republican Gary Michaels. The County Elections website showed her with 67.90% of the vote with 105 out of 226 precincts reporting.
Ms. Limón told the News-Press that she was “very grateful” to the senate district’s voters in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties for voting for her to go to the California Legislature’s upper house. The assemblywoman would take over the seat soon to be vacated by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.
Regardless of election results at the national level, Ms. Limón said there’s plenty of work to be done in California in order to address the economic impacts from COVID-19. One of her biggest priorities will be working with her senate colleagues in adjusting the California state budget due to the federal government not passing another COVID-19 stimulus package.
“In their absence of doing that, it does require that the state to relook at the budget… And that’s a really hard position for a state like California that’s already in a $54 billion-dollar deficit,” she stated.
Looking at the unfavorable numbers, Mr. Michaels told the News-Press that him coming up short is par for the course for Republican candidates on the Central Coast and elsewhere in California. Though he pointed out that Ms. Limón had a significantly bigger campaign budget than he did, Mr. Michaels admitted that California Republicans need to hone their message if they want to see better results.
“We’re not offering enough if I see early returns like this in the Democrats’ favor,” he said.
One possible race that could yield GOP success however is the race for the State Assembly’s 35th District, in which incumbent Republican Jordan Cunningham is defending his seat from Democrat challenger and Morro Bay City Council Member Dawn Addis with a 7% spread.
Late in October, Mr. Cunningham told the News-Press that his first order of business in his next term will be addressing affordability and economic development in his district, which includes all of San Luis Obispo County and northern Santa Barbara County.
According to the County Elections website, as of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Mr. Cunningham had 53.64% of the vote with 31 of 74 precincts reporting.
In a statement to the News-Press, the assemblyman wrote, “This election – like all of 2020 – has been unprecedented. Given the impacts COVID-19 has had on the electoral process, and the major changes in how and when people are casting their ballots, it is likely impossible to determine the winner of this race tonight.”
He added, “I am proud of the race we’ve run, and I look forward to seeing the results once both County Clerks are finished counting all the ballots.”
As of Tuesday night, Santa Barbara County’s vote on Proposition 15 was very close with 105 of 226 reporting. Some 50.48% of voters had voted no, and 49.52% yes.
Proposition 25 was also close, with 50.54% voting yes and 49.46% voting no with 105 of 226 precincts reporting.
No votes on Propositions 14, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 23, had more comfortable leads, as did yes votes on Propositions 17, 22, and 24.