Capitol Alert

California's long count: Races we're still watching

Devon Mathis gets emotional on the Assembly floor during cap and trade debate

Debate over Assembly Bill 398 draws an emotional response from Republican Assemblyman Devon Mathis of Visalia.
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Debate over Assembly Bill 398 draws an emotional response from Republican Assemblyman Devon Mathis of Visalia.

It's been a week since the California primary election, and more than 2 million ballots are still being counted.

The slow process could take several weeks, leaving many candidates and supporters frustrated as they await a final tally. Secretary of State Alex Padilla will certify results by July 13, but the latest results show 13 remaining closely contested races — those in which the margin is less than 2 percentage points.

Two of the most entertaining involve incumbent Republicans.

In Inland Southern California’s 8th Congressional District, Republican Rep. Paul Cook clinched the first of two spots for the general election with 41 percent of the vote. But one Republican and one Democratic challenger are fighting for the second slot, which could carry major implications for Cook. Tim Donnelly, a staunch conservative and former assemblyman who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2014, is currently in second with 23 percent, narrowly ahead of Democrat Marge Doyle at 22 percent. As of Monday afternoon, the two were separated by 983 votes. There are still about 35,000 mail-in and provisional ballots yet to be counted in the Republican-leaning district, based on updated estimates provided by a spokeswoman in San Bernardino County.

Just 712 votes separate the top three contenders in GOP-heavy Assembly District 26 in Tulare County, and thousands of additional ballots have yet to be counted. GOP Assemblyman Devon Mathis of Visalia leads with 30 percent, while Democrat Jose Sigala and Republican Warren Gubler trail at 29 percent each.

Mathis, a two-term incumbent who drew the ire of some Republican hardliners last year when he sided with then-Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes to support Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown's cap-and-trade deal on climate change, could get closed out if Sigala and Gubler advance to November's election.

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CHRISTIAN DAY OF ACTION: Groups opposed to the Legislature's efforts to further restrict so-called "gay conversion therapy" in California are rallying at the Capitol. The California Family Council and others are sponsoring the events, including testimony from "once gay men and women" who will talk about the role of therapy in their transformations. They stand against Assembly Bill 2943, which would restrict advertising of change therapy services. The Senate Judiciary Committee is hearing AB 2943 at 1:30 p.m.

INFLUENCER INSIGHT: "Two major political reforms combined to overwhelm the election by elevating dishonest campaign tactics over meaningful policy debate. The two reforms — campaign finance reform and the "top two" primary selection — created a near circus atmosphere in key races for Congress and Governor." – Sal Russo, co-founder of Tea Party Express, on learnings from the primary election. Tell us what you think.

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Tim Donnelly, at the California Republican Party convention in Burlingame in 2016, says Californians ought to be able to defend themselves in gun-free zones.

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