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Also on the ballot: Voters to weigh in on leaders, abortion rights and gaming

Voters on the greater Tiburon Peninsula and across the state are now casting their ballots in the run-up to Election Day Nov. 8, with the chance to weigh in on state and regional representatives in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

In addition to the slew of local campaigns — including for the Belvedere and Tiburon town councils, local school and fire boards and tax measures for infrastructure, open space and libraries — residents are also being asked to choose to enshrine reproductive choice in the state constitution, to consider the legality of sports betting, whether to tax millionaires to fund climate and fire initiatives and whether to fund arts and music as core educational curriculum.

U.S. senator: Incumbent Alex Padilla

Federal official, all California voters

As in the June primary, voting for the U.S. Senate seat held by appointed Democrat Alex Padilla will be on the ballot twice, as Padi­lla’s appointment runs through the Nov. 8 general election but the term itself doesn’t expire until Jan. 2.

One race is needed to fill the initial two-month gap and a second for the ensuing full six-year term.

Padilla — who in 2021 filled the seat of former Sen. Kamala Harris after she won the vice presidency — easily outpaced Republican challenger Mark Meuser, an attorney, in the 23-way primary for the full term and eight-way race for the partial-term, but Meuser’s second-place finish earned him a spot in next month’s runoff.

Padilla is a former state senator and Los Angeles councilmember. He’s running on a platform of improving voting rights, passing the Green New Deal and reforming pathways to citizenship for immigrants.

Meuser’s a GOP official and an attorney who’s said little about a policy agenda, except that he believes in limiting government power, seeking to reduce spending, end Obamacare and allow school choice, and that he supported the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.

U.S. representative: Incumbent Jared Huffman

Federal official, California District 2 voters

San Rafael Democrat Jared Huffman, a former assemblymember and Marin Municipal Water District board member, is seeking his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives and will face Republican Douglas Brower of Humboldt County, a pastor and former Ferndale councilmember. The district covers the North Coast from Marin to the Oregon border.

Huffman’s running on a platform of climate action, defending civil rights and improving critical infrastructure. Brower says he’s wants to bring “biblical principles” to office while fighting homelessness, addressing inflation and improving water accessibility.

Governor: Incumbent Gavin Newsom

State official, all voters

Democrat Gavin Newsom — who appears to be signaling a presidential bid if Joe Biden doesn’t seek re-election — is seeking a second four-year term after beating back a recall effort last year. The Redwood High School graduate and former San Francisco mayor will face state Sen. Brian Dahle, R-Redding, a farmer, former Lassen County supervisor and four-term assemblyman.

Dahle wants to declare homelessness a public-health crisis, suspend the gas tax and the early prison release of repeat offenders and opposes Proposition 1, the reproductive-rights initiative, as well as Newsom’s ongoing gun-safety initiatives. Newsom’s campaign focus has been on passing Proposition 1 and has been aggressive on increasing housing, gun control, mental-illness treatment for the homeless, early education and access to health insurance.

The two are set for an Oct. 23 gubernatorial debate hosted by KQED, which will air live at 1 p.m. on 88.5 FM radio, then on TV at 6 p.m.

Attorney general: Incumbent Rob Bonta

State official, all voters

Former Alameda Assemblyman Rob Bonta, who replaced Democrat Xavier Becerra when the latter in 2021 was appointed the U.S. secretary of health and human services in the Biden administration, will face Republican attorney Nathan Hochman of Los Angeles, a former U.S. assistant attorney general.

Bonta is running on a reform platform to balance public safety and fairness, pledging to prosecute and enforce anti-discrimination, housing, environmental, antitrust and gun laws. Hochman, who’s pressed misleading claims about crime trends, seeks to crack down on fentanyl dealers, create a task force on human trafficking and says some of California’s gun-control laws may be unconstitutional. Both say they’re pro-choice and will enforce California laws protecting reproductive rights.

State senator: Incumbent Mike McGuire

State official, District 2 voters

State Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, is the Senate majority leader and is seeking his third term representing the district, which runs the North Coast from Marin County to Del Norte County. The former Sonoma County supervisor and Healdsburg mayor faces Republican business owner Gene Yoon of Lake County, who worked in finance before shifting to internet technologies and business.

McGuire is running on a platform to address housing and homelessness, combat the climate crisis and wildfires and increase access to affordable health care. Yoon, who has distanced himself from the national GOP, is focusing on improving the civics curriculum, ending lobbying by public special interests and increasing regulations on the tech industry.

State Assembly

State official, District 12 voters

Marin Supervisor Damon Connolly, who represents San Rafael and the rest of District 1, and Sara Aminzadeh, vice president of the nonprofit US Water Alliance and a California Coastal Commission member, will square off in next month’s runoff. The Assembly district includes all of Marin and parts of Sonoma County, and the candidates are running to replace outgoing Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, who was eligible for one more term but instead ran a failed bid for state insurance commissioner.

The two are running on similar platforms to protect the environment, address wildfires, defend reproductive choice, address racial inequalities and improve public transportation. Aminzadeh has advocated denser housing in job centers and transit corridors, while Connolly focuses more on accessory dwelling units to alleviate the housing crisis.

Other California government

State officials, all voters

Lieutenant governor: Democratic incumbent Eleni Kounalakis, a former U.S. ambassador and the state’s first woman to hold the office, faces Republican Angela Underwood Jacobs, a deputy mayor and former councilmember for Lancaster.

Secretary of state: Appointed Democratic incumbent Shirley Weber, who replaced Padilla when the latter was appointed to the U.S. Senate seat, faces Republican Rob Bernosky, a longtime corporate finance executive and leader of the San Benito County GOP.

Controller: California State Board of Equalization Chair Malia Cohen, a Democratic former San Francisco supervisor, faces Republican Lanhee Chen, who teaches public policy as a Hoover Institution fellow at Stanford University and was an Obama nominee to the Social Security Advisory Board and policy advisor to Mitt Romney.

Treasurer: Incumbent Democrat Fiona Ma, a former San Francisco supervisor and state assemblywoman, faces Republican Jack Guerrero, a certified public accountant and councilmember in the L.A. city Cudahy.

Insurance commissioner: Incumbent Democrat Ricardo Lara, a former assemblyman and state senator, faces Republican Robert Howell, the founder and president of an electronics manufacturing company.

Board of Equalization: Democrat Sally Lieber, a Mountain View councilwoman and former state assemblywoman, faces Republican Peter Coe Verbica, an investment adviser.

Superintendent of public instruction: Incumbent Tony Thurmond, a former assemblyman and member of the West Contra Costa Unified School District board, faces Lance Ray Christensen, an education and government affairs director for the conservative California Policy Center.

Proposition 1: Abortion rights in state Constitution

State initiative, all voters

A yes vote would change the state Constitution to include California’s existing rights to privacy of reproductive choice, enshrining a fundamental right to choose whether to have an abortion or use contraceptives. A no vote would not change the Constitution, but it would not change existing laws that already allow these rights. The change, which would have no fiscal impact, comes in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that the U.S. Constitution does not protect the right to privacy of reproductive choice, overturning Wade v. Roe.

Proposition 26: In-person sports betting at tribal casinos

State initiative, all voters

A yes vote would legalize sports gambling, roulette and dice games on Native American tribal land, with tribal reimbursements to the state for the cost of regulation. A no vote would continue California’s ban on sports betting and on roulette and dice games at tribal casinos.

The initiative, written by several tribes, could generate tens of millions annually for the state for regulation costs and education-spending commitments.

Proposition 27: Online sports betting

State initiative, all voters

A yes vote would allow Native American tribes and their licensed affiliates to offer mobile and online sports wagering outside tribal lands; gaming companies such as FanDuel would have to partner with a tribe. A no vote would continue the ban on sports betting.

Fees and taxes could generate hundreds of millions of dollars of annually for the state, which would first be spent on regulatory costs and then address homelessness and gambling-addiction programs, with 15 percent going to non-participating tribes.

Proposition 28: Arts and music education funding

State initiative, all voters

A yes vote would allocate additional funding to arts and music in public schools in an amount equal to 1 percent of the prior year’s constitutionally guaranteed public-school funding. A no vote would continue funding levels depending on state and local budget decisions.

The change, which would cost about $1 billion a year, intends to make the arts a core subject like math, science and reading, with money going toward teacher salaries, training and materials.

Proposition 29: On-site medical professional at dialysis clinics

State initiative, all voters

A yes vote would require kidney-dialysis clinics to have at least one physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant with at least six months experience on site during treatment.

It’s the third time in recent years such a measure has appeared on the ballot.

The health-care labor union SEIU-UHW West says it wants to increase transparency and reform an industry more interested in profits than patient care, while such clinics say it’s an attempt to pressure clinics and organize workers.

State analysts say approval would likely increase costs for patients and taxpayers, result in the closure of clinics in low-income areas and lead to fewer new clinics opening.

Proposition 30: Tax millionaires to battle wildfires, climate change

State initiative, all voters

A yes vote would impose a 20-year, 1.75-percent tax increase on personal income exceeding $2 million per year, with about 80 percent going toward rebates for zero-emissions vehicles and charging stations and the rest to fund fire response and prevention.

The increased tax would raise an estimated $3.5 billion to $5 billion per year and would end early if the state reduced its emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels for three consecutive years.

Proposition 31: Uphold flavored-tobacco ban

State initiative, all voters

A yes vote would uphold the current law, which prohibits the sale of some flavored tobacco products, such as candy and fruit flavors and menthol cigarettes.

The 2020 law — on hold as tobacco companies qualified this referendum — applies to cigarettes, electronic devices and chewing tobacco but not to premium cigars, loose-leaf tobacco or hookah tobacco.

The state would lose about $100 million a year in sales-tax revenue.

Reach Kevin Hessel at 415-435-2652 and on Facebook at



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