- Associated Press - Monday, November 7, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California’s 55 electoral votes are the nation’s biggest prize Tuesday in the presidential election, and they’re all but certain to go to Hillary Clinton.

The Democratic nominee is trouncing Republican Donald Trump by double digits in California polls, and it’s been nearly 30 years since a Republican presidential candidate won the state.

But there are still plenty of unknowns further down the ballot. Here’s a look at races and issues voters will decide:

SENATE RACE

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer’s retirement created a rare open U.S. Senate seat and, for the first time in the modern era, no Republican is on the ballot to claim it.

Under California’s unusual primary system, in which the two top finishers from the June primary advance to the general election, voters will decide between two Democrats - state Attorney General Kamala Harris and U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez.

Harris and Sanchez agree on many issues but draw contrasts between their experience and temperament.

Harris, a longtime prosecutor from San Francisco, has locked up the Democratic establishment, with endorsements from President Barack Obama and the California Democratic Party.

Sanchez, who represents part of Orange County in Congress, is looking to draw in Republican and unaffiliated voters, along with Latinos and Democrats from her base in Southern California.

The lone debate between the candidates will be remembered not for sharp rhetorical jabs but for a dab. Sanchez capped the debate by mimicking a celebratory gesture popularized by NFL star Cam Newton, known as “the dab.”

BALLOT QUESTIONS

The statewide ballot has a whopping 17 propositions - the most on a single ballot since March 2000.

Voters will decide questions about billions of dollars in taxes and spending obligations, as well as matters of everyday life.

One measure would continue a tax increase on income above $250,000 a year. Another would raise taxes on tobacco and vaping products.

There’s a measure to legalize recreational marijuana for adults and one requiring pornography actors to wear condoms. Another would limit the price the state pays for some prescription drugs.

Voters will weigh in twice on the death penalty. Proposition 62 would repeal capital punishment while Proposition 66 seeks to speed up the process.

There’s also two measures on single-use plastic grocery bags. Proposition 67 would ban them statewide, as many jurisdictions have already done locally. Proposition 65, put forward by plastic-bag manufacturers, would direct 10-cent fees for paper and reusable plastic grocery bags to environmental and wildlife services instead of the grocers who support Proposition 67.

Those are just the statewide propositions. Voters in most places will have a variety of local questions as well, from school bonds to soda taxes to subsidized housing. San Francisco voters will have more than two dozen local measures to ponder.

CONGRESS AND LEGISLATURE

All of California’s 53 U.S. House seats and 100 of the 120 state legislative positions are up for grabs, though only a fraction are likely to be close contests.

Democrats are hoping the specter of a Donald Trump presidency will drive left-leaning voters to show up on Election Day and vote for Democrats down the ballot. They’re aggressively hammering Republicans over their party’s nominee - in some districts even if the incumbent has disavowed Trump.

Republican congressmen Darrell Issa, David Valadao, Steve Knight and Jeff Denham are all vulnerable, as are Democrats Mike Honda and Ami Bera.

Defeating Issa would be a prize for Democrats. As chairman of a powerful House oversight committee, the San Diego-area congressman has been the chief inquisitor of President Barack Obama.

In the state Legislature, Democrats are looking to regain supermajorities in the Assembly and Senate, which would allow them to govern without Republicans. The outcome of several Democrat vs. Democrat races will also help determine just how liberal the next Legislature is.

HOW TO VOTE

Polls open Tuesday at 7 a.m., and anyone in line by 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Mail ballots can be dropped off at any polling place in the voter’s county or at designated drop-off points. Find your neighborhood polling place here: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/polling-place/.

___

Follow AP writer Jonathan J. Cooper at https://twitter.com/jjcooper .


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide