With 61 percent of Americans now in support of cannabis legalization, it should come as little surprise that pot-positive candidates swept to victory in Tuesday’s Primary Election in the progressive bastion of California.
In every important race, winning politicians knew which way the cannabis smoke was blowing.
California’s June 5 primary vote determines which two top candidates face each other in the General Election in the Fall. All 80 seats in the state Assembly, plus 20 of the 40 seats in the state Senate, all 53 US House seats, and one US Senate seat is up for grabs. Here’s how things are turning out.
Sen. Diane Feinstein bested all contenders while Democrat Kevin De Leon was in a dead heat for second place with Republican James Bradley in early returns. Sen. Feinstein is expected to win her General Election and secure a fifth term.
Sen. Feinstein freshly embraced states’ rights to set their own cannabis policy after decades as a prominent cannabis prohibitionist. She is evolving on the issue because of challenges from younger Democrats who are more strongly pro-legalization.
One of American history’s strongest cannabis regulation allies, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, handily secured the top spot in the race for the Governor’s seats in early returns Tuesday evening. In a distant second came Republican John Cox, who Newsom is expected to beat in the General Election in November. Cox’s number two finish stymies Democrats’ plans to lock the GOP out of the top of the General Election ticket, and depress GOP turnout overall.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher
Cannabis most staunch — and problematic — ally in Congress, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, will advance to the General Election after taking the top spot in the race for the 48th District in Huntington Beach. What’s exciting is the dead-heat for second place between Democrat Hans Keirstead and Republican Scott Baugh. They were at 18.7% vs 18% in early returns. A Democratic second place finish prevents the GOP from locking Dems out of the race for the 48th and makes the General Election there more exciting.
Democrats hope to flip perhaps seven districts that Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 Presidential Election from red to blue, thus helping give Democrats a majority in the House, which might lead to impeachment proceedings. In early returns, those target District remained within range. Democratic candidates were in the running for second place finishes in the 10th, 25th, 45th, 48th, 49th, and 50th.
Down the Ticket
Further down the ticket, cannabis allies Alex Padilla, Betty Yee, Fiona Ma, and Xavier Becerra took leads for Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer and Attorney General. Seventeen cities and counties also held local votes on a variety of cannabis taxes and licensing proposals. We’ll have more updates as precincts finish reporting.