Voters cast ballots on local, state and federal races; local measures; statewide propositions
This is it.
Months and months of campaigning, political ads, debates, rallies, front yard signs, op-eds, letters to the editor and media interviews all come down to today’s general election, which will determine a lot.
Today’s polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The general election will decide which party controls Congress. Historically, when a new president is elected, his party controls both chambers of Congress for the first two years, then loses control of at least one house in the midterms. Political observers are expecting Republicans to take control of the House, and if the Democrats keep control of the Senate, it’ll likely be by a thin margin, according to the pundits. Senate races in key battleground states such as Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania are close.
Today’s election also will determine who will run California and who will sit on city councils in Carpinteria, Goleta, Solvang, Lompoc and Santa Maria. One certainty is Mark Infanti, who’s running unopposed, will be elected his first term as mayor of Solvang. Elsewhere, Lompoc Mayor Jenelle Osborne is facing challenger Jim Mosby.
In Sacramento, Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Democratic incumbent, is facing a challenge from Republican opponent Brian Dahle.
And here in Santa Barbara County, U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, is running for re-election against Republican opponent Brad Allen, a Summerland pediatric heart surgeon. The 24th Congressional District includes all of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties and western Ventura County.
Today marks the first election for the newly created 37th Assembly District, which puts all of Santa Barbara County into the same district. The district also includes the southern, unincorporated end of San Luis Obispo County, including Nipomo.
The Democrat in the race is 2nd District Supervisor Gregg Hart, a former Santa Barbara City Council member who’s campaigning on a platform of supporting women’s rights to abortion, addressing climate change, relying on a diversity of sources to enhance water supplies and helping the economy.
The Republican is Mike Stoker, a former Santa Barbara County supervisor and the former southwest regional Environmental Protection Agency administrator during the Trump administration. He’s campaigning with goals to reduce mandates on businesses, improve the economy, and get tougher on crime and make sure criminals do the time. He also wants to rely on both renewable energy sources and fossil fuels during a measured, careful transition to a greener state. And Mr. Stoker favors building reservoirs, which he said the state hasn’t done since the 1960s.
Mr. Stoker is watching today’s results closely, but said the winner might not be known tonight.
“Over half of the ballots in this election won’t be counted on election night,” Mr. Stoker told the News-Press. “They’ll be counted the week after.”
He said early voting trends will favor his opponent, Mr. Hart, because Democrats are tending to vote early with mail-in ballots. He added that Republicans are tending to vote later in the process.
“If we’re five points down or less (today), we think we’ve definitely won the race,” Mr. Stoker said. “If we’re six points to 10 points, 11 points down, we have a good chance of winning.”
But he said his path to a possible victory will diminish if Mr. Hart is 11 points or more ahead of him in today’s results.
Mr. Stoker, who was on the team monitoring the 2020 election results for former President Donald Trump, said he feels Joe Holland, the Santa Barbara County county clerk-recorder, assessor and registrar of voters for Santa Barbara County, is doing a good job in overseeing elections.
“Our election system is very, very good.”
If elected, Mr. Hart told the News-Press he and his counterparts in neighboring counties would like to form a Central Coast Caucus in the Assembly to focus on local issues. He also said there’s an opportunity to address local concerns with Santa Barbara County now being all within the same Assembly district.
Also on the ballot are candidates for school boards in districts throughout Santa Barbara County, as well as the county Board of Education.
In addition, residents are voting on candidates in special districts.
And today, residents are voting on whether to increase the sales tax by 1% in Goleta and Solvang and whether to approve Measure A, which would fund improvements for buildings in the Lompoc Unified School District.
And in Carpinteria, people are voting on Measure T, which is intended to prevent the construction of Surfliner Inn, a two-story boutique hotel, on Parking Lot 3.
Voters are also casting their “yes” or “no” vote on several statewide propositions:
— Proposition 1: Guaranteeing abortion rights in the state constitution.
— Proposition 26: Sports betting at tribal casinos.
— Proposition 27: Allowing online sports betting.
— Proposition 28: Funding arts and music education.
— Proposition 29: Imposing new rules on dialysis clinics.
— Proposition 30: Taxing millionaires for electric vehicle programs.
— Proposition 31: Upholding the ban on flavored tobaccos, which are seen as targeting kids.
The News-Press will print available results in Wednesday’s edition, as well as an update Wednesday morning at newspress.com.