Posted by on September 04, 2014 in Blog
Our 2014 California state voter guide is online! AAI's Voter Guides are designed to help you before going to the polls and contain brief overviews of many of the key issues of concern to Arab Americans, detailed descriptions of key races in your state, and important candidate information.
November elections will be held for California’s Governor, each seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as state legislature. Our Yalla Vote Guide covers the first two.
In the gubernatorial race, three term incumbent Jerry Brown (D) faces a challenge from Republican Neel Kashkari. Brown finished first in the “jungle primary” with over 50% of the vote, and is universally expected to win a fourth term as California state governor. Over his first three terms, Brown turned a $25.4 billion state deficit into a $4 billion surplus. Jerry Brown also established an important national precedent by signing the TRUST Act into law last year. This move challenges that Safe Communities federal immigration program that allows for the unjust arrest and detention of people suspected of immigration violations. The Arab American Institute has tracked and advocated against the Safe Communities program on the same basis.
Republican candidate Neel Kashkari is being touted as the first Republican candidate to pose a real threat to the governor’s seat in many election cycles, though most election watchers disagree. Kashkari is running against the budget busting high-speed rail platform and on the promise of giving significant tax breaks for Californian businesses. Kashkari is young, social media savvy, and is promoting a moderate social agenda which he wants to use to transform the California Republican party.
With 53 races to watch for the U.S. House of Representatives, key toss up elections are happening in districts 7, 26, 31, 36, and 52. In the 36th district Democrat Raul Ruiz is ranked as one of the most vulnerable incumbents in 2014. He received 50.2% of the vote in the primaries while Republican challenger Brian Nestande only received 34.6%. The remainder of the primary votes that went to a third candidate may very well go to Nestande in the general election, making District 36 a close race. Nestande is well known by district voters, as he has a long career in local politics. Nestade also runs on a moderate platform, which is attractive to independent voters who make this race a toss-up. The California GOP has picked this as one of two districts to focus on flipping, along with district 52.
District 31 is ranked as one of the seats most likely to present a win for the Democratic Party, in an election cycle where Republicans are widely expected to be the party flipping seats. With the incumbent retiring, both challengers for the seat faced a tough, and close, primary. Utlimately tea party Republican Peter Chabot is facing off against Democrat Pete Aguilar.
In less competitive, but notable races, Arab American Darrell Issa is up for reelection in the 49th district. Issa serves as Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. In the 24th district, longtime advocate for peace in the Middle East Lois Capps is facing a tea party challenger Chris Mitchum who has spoken out about his strong pro-Israel stance, and has demonstrated a lack of legislative understanding by offering sharp criticism what he understands as Congress’s policy of “sending money to Hamas.”
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