Any observations on the results of the California primary early the morning after Election Day must carry the phrase “as this is written” because the election process, as it has evolved in California, means final results are not certain because of late arriving ballots.

Proposition 13 School Bond

The biggest surprise so far is that it appears the statewide school construction and maintenance bond is going down to defeat. With 93% of the precinct counted it trails 44% Yes, 56% No. The gap of over half-a-million votes will be hard to close with the votes remaining to be counted.

Two political aspects if Proposition13 fails—Gov. Gavin Newsom’s influence is damaged. He was the face of the bond appearing in television commercials and touring the state on behalf of the proposition.

The school issue, which has been assumed to be a sure winner in the state with many polls indicating voters want to support the schools, may not be as powerful as believed. What does that mean to the coming campaign in the battle to raise taxes by altering 1978’s Proposition 13 with schools listed first as beneficiary of the new funds in both the title of the “Schools and Communities First” name and the Attorney General’s ballot label leading with “Increases Funding for Public Schools…”

Los Angeles County District Attorney Race

In the nationally watched contest for DA in L.A. County, incumbent Jackie Lacey holds on to a vote just above 50%, which would foreclose a run-off election if the figure holds. The LA race continues a national effort to elect progressive candidates to District Attorney offices, but that effort is falling short in California’s most populous county, as this is written.

The biggest surprise is the strong showing of the third candidate in the race, Rachel Rossi, a former public defender. George Gascón, the former San Francisco DA, was the hope of the progressive revolution at DA. He had a campaign organization and money to advertise. As this is written, Lacey stands at 51.3%, Gascón at 26.4% and Rossi a stronger than expected 22.1%. Gascón and Rossi share much of the same progressive philosophy to running the DA’s office. Still, if Lacey slips below 50%, she will likely be dueling Gascón in November, as pundits predicted.

The “Scandal” Seats

You might refer to them as the “scandal” seats when the incumbent Congress members resigned facing scandals: Democrat Katie Hill in District 25 and Republican Duncan Hunter in District 50.

There were two races in District 25, to fill the seat of Hill and a primary for the coming election. In both cases, Democratic establishment candidate, California Assemblywoman Christy Smith prevailed over Navy veteran Mike Garcia, a Republican. They will face each other in a May runoff and again in November. Interestingly, former Republican Congressman Steve Knight, hoping to regain his former seat, finished a solid third. If his voters jump to Garcia, Republicans have a chance to reclaim this seat.

Republican Darryl Issa is trying to return to Congress and the path opened up for him with his finish in District 50. Issa 25% topped former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio’s 21% to finish second and put Issa into the November election against top primary vote getter, Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, making his second try for the office. District 50 is considered a solid Republican seat opening the possibility that Issa will return to Washington.

More to come on the election as votes are tallied and the picture clears.