What Message Did Voters Send in the California Primary?

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Janice Slattery votes in the California primary election as her poodles, Randy and Trucker-T, wait at The Park in La Habra Heights Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

As Californians went to the polls on Tuesday to vote in the state’s primary, predicted low voter turnout seemed to be the top headline statewide. While every registered voter was mailed a ballot, only 16% of them had been returned by Tuesday. This lackluster turnout stands in contrast to the energy behind some of the hotly contested races, like the mayor’s campaign in Los Angeles and the effort to recall San Francisco’s progressive district attorney. And while a recent poll by the Public Policy Institute placed the economy, inflation and housing at the top of Californian’s concerns, political observers note that this primary seems to be a referendum on pandemic crime rates. We’ll analyze the results, and talk about what message voters are sending about state politics and what these results portend for the November midterms.


Marisa Lagos, politics correspondent, KQED; co-host, KQED's Political Breakdown show

Scott Shafer, senior editor, KQED’s California Politics and Government desk; co-host, KQED's Political Breakdown show

Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro, Dean's Professor of Political Science and Gender Studies, USC