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California ’22 Primary Election: Black Candidates Running for Statewide Office

The candidates running to fill eight statewide constitutional offices (governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state (SOS), attorney general, controller, state superintendent of public instruction, insurance commissioner and treasurer) and one California U.S. Senate seat will be listed on all primary ballots.

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Chair of Board of Equalization Malia Cohen and candidate for State Controller, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, Secretary of State Shirley Weber.
Chair of Board of Equalization Malia Cohen and candidate for State Controller, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond,  Secretary of State Shirley Weber.

By Joe W. Bowers Jr., California Black Media

On June 7, California will conduct a primary election — the first opportunity for voters to elect candidates in newly drawn districts based on the 2020 U.S. census. Registered voters will automatically receive a vote-by-mail ballot no later than May 9, with the option to return it to a secure drop box, or vote in-person up to 10 days before the election for those living in Voter’s Choice Act (VCA) counties.

For those not registered to vote, same day registration is possible up until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

The candidates running to fill eight statewide constitutional offices (governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state (SOS), attorney general, controller, state superintendent of public instruction, insurance commissioner and treasurer) and one California U.S. Senate seat will be listed on all primary ballots.

The primaries for the four positions on the Board of Equalization, the 52 U.S. Congressional, 80 State Assembly, and 20 State Senate seats are listed based on district.

There are 40 State Senators. They serve staggered four-year terms. Twenty of them representing even-numbered districts are up for election this year.

Statewide, there are 145 elections being held to fill these state and federal offices.

California Black Media (CBM) reports that 55 Black candidates are running in 37 of the elections. That’s 25.5% of the races. Blacks make up 5.8% of California’s population.

In nine of the contests more than one Black candidate is competing. Party affiliations represented are: 36 Democrat, 11 Republican, four No-Party Preference, two Nonpartisan, one Green and one Peace and Freedom.

In six statewide contests, 12 Black candidates are on the ballot. Two candidates are incumbents. One is Dr. Shirley Weber, who was appointed California’s first Black SOS by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2021, replacing California’s current junior U.S. Sen Alex Padilla. This will be the first time Weber has run for office statewide. The other is Tony Thurmond, California’s second Black State Superintendent of Public Instruction. He was elected in 2018 in a close contest.

There are no Black candidates on the ballot running for attorney general or treasurer.

Governor

Running for re-election as the state’s chief executive officer, Newsom faces 25 other candidates on the ballot. Four of those candidates are Black. Shawn Collins is a Republican, an attorney, and a Navy combat veteran. He says, “We can and will make California the best place to start a small business, give parents a real voice in their children’s educations, and bring compassion and law and order together to end the human tragedies on our streets.”

Serge Fiankan is an entrepreneur and has a No Party Preference designation. He says, “As your governor, I will change the status quo and address the real problems we are facing with measurable actions.”

Woodrow “Woody” Sanders III is an entrepreneur/director/engineer and has a No Party Preference designation. Sander’s passion is for restoring California’s “crown as the best state in the union.”

Major Williams is a Republican Businessman. He ran as write-in candidate during Gov. Newsom’s recall election and received 8,965 votes. His campaign slogan is, “It’s time to think major.”

Lt. Governor

Incumbent Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis is running against a field of seven candidates. Angela E. Underwood Jacobs is a Black Republican businesswoman/deputy mayor running against her. Jacobs was the first African American woman elected to serve on the Lancaster City Council.

Secretary of State

Shirley Weber has six opponents for SOS. Before her appointment, Weber served four terms as an Assemblymember representing California’s 79th Assembly District. She is committed to making California the national leader in running inclusive, trustworthy, and transparent elections – expanding the franchise to more of our citizens, ensuring election security and empowering voters to make informed decisions.  She is the only Black candidate running for SOS.

State Controller

State Controller Betty Yee is termed out this year. Among six candidates running to replace her is Malia Cohen the first African American woman to serve on the Board of Equalization. Cohen wants to make sure the tax code is fair, that people understand tax incentives are out there to benefit the working class. “I am running because I am committed to equity, empowerment, hope and opportunity for all Californians,” Cohen told CBM.

Superintendent of Public Instruction

There are six candidates running to replace incumbent Tony Thurmond as State Superintendent of Public Instruction. As the chief of K-12 education in the state, Thurmond was instrumental in marshalling the efforts of the Department of Education to help school districts deal with systemic inequities that the pandemic put a spotlight light on.

He is running to achieve his vision that by 2026 all California students will be literate by third grade. For Thurmond, Black student achievement and student achievement in general have been major priorities. Among his challengers is Black public and charter schoolteacher Ainye E. Long.

California Insurance Commissioner

Incumbent Ricardo Lara has eight challengers vying to be the next insurance commissioner. Three of his opponents are Black. Veronika Fimbres is a transgender nurse running as the Green Party candidate. Fimbres, a Black Navy veteran, has pledged to use the bully pulpit that would come from being insurance commissioner to push for universal health care in the state.

Jasper “Jay” Jackson is a paralegal running as a Democrat. His goal is to deliver transparent and speedy services to the people of California.

Vinson Eugene Allen is a medical doctor and businessman running as a Democrat. Allen says, “I will personally address consumer issues and work with insurance carriers for a fair solution to disputes.”

U.S. Senator

The office of U.S. Senate will have two separate contests on the June 7 ballot. One contest is the regular election for the full six-year term beginning January 3, 2023. The other contest is a special vacancy election, to complete the unexpired Senate term of Vice President Kamala Harris.

Sen. Alex Padilla, who was chosen by Gov. Newsom to replace Harris will be competing in both contests. In the full-term contest, he faces 22 opponents. Five are Black. And in the special vacancy contest he has seven opponents. Two are Black.

Black candidates in the full-term US Senate race are: Akinyemi Agbede a mathematician and Democrat; Myron L. Hall podiatric physician and Republican; Daphne Bradford, an education consultant and No Party Preference candidate; Deon D. Jenkins also has a No Ballot Designation and No Party Preference; and John Thompson Parker, a social justice advocate representing the Peace and Freedom Party.  Candidates Hall and Bradford are also running in the partial/unexpired term contest.

In the June 7 primary election, the two candidates receiving the most votes advance to the general election. If a candidate receives a majority of the vote (at least 50% plus 1), a general election must still be held.

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Arts and Culture

Third Annual Town Up Tuesday Lifts Oakland’s Community, Culture and Joy

Urban Peace Movement announced Town Up Tuesday, a free community music and social awareness festival dedicated to the people of Oakland to celebrate Bay Area culture and create safety by fostering connection and belonging. It will be on Tuesday, May 21, at Edoff Memorial Bandstand at Lake Merritt from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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The event will feature local Bay Area legends and rising stars home-grown talent that will include 10 performers: 1100 Himself, The Conscious Daughters, Michael Sneed, Trunk Boiz, 3LISE, The Animaniakz and Ms. Bria. Too $hort is a special guest and there will also be a surprise legendary Oakland artist. The two DJs are Emelle & Dahge, and the two hosts are Dnas and Mystic.
The event will feature local Bay Area legends and rising stars home-grown talent that will include 10 performers: 1100 Himself, The Conscious Daughters, Michael Sneed, Trunk Boiz, 3LISE, The Animaniakz and Ms. Bria. Too $hort is a special guest and there will also be a surprise legendary Oakland artist. The two DJs are Emelle & Dahge, and the two hosts are Dnas and Mystic.

By Kyung Jin Lee

Urban Peace Movement announced Town Up Tuesday, a free community music and social awareness festival dedicated to the people of Oakland to celebrate Bay Area culture and create safety by fostering connection and belonging.

It will be on Tuesday, May 21, at Edoff Memorial Bandstand at Lake Merritt from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The event will feature local Bay Area legends and rising stars home-grown talent that will include 10 performers: 1100 Himself, The Conscious Daughters, Michael Sneed, Trunk Boiz, 3LISE, The Animaniakz and Ms. Bria.

Too $hort is a special guest and there will also be a surprise legendary Oakland artist. The two DJs are Emelle & Dahge, and the two hosts are Dnas and Mystic.

Past performers have included: Kamaiyah, Yukmouth, Stunnaman02, Symba, Lil Kayla, Grand Nationxl, Jane Handcock, and D Smoke, among others.

“Oakland is a historically Black city and one of the most diverse and progressive in the country — a city rich with culture,” said Nicole Lee, executive director of the Urban Peace Movement.

“At a time when we are being scapegoated for political gain and negative narratives of Oakland permeate the press, we’re uplifting who we truly are and all the things that make this region so special.”

About Urban Peace Movement: Urban Peace Movement (UPM) is a racial justice organization working to end mass incarceration and the criminalization of Black and Brown communities in Oakland. https://urbanpeacemovement.org/ @urbanpeace510

Kyung Jin Lee is the media representative for the Urban Peace Movement.

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Bay Area

California Makes Strides in Fight Against Fentanyl

California National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force has seized over 7,000 pounds of fentanyl including 3.4 million pills since the state launched a multi-agency operation in January 2024. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state’s progress on May 7, National Fentanyl Awareness Day. The Governor said he deployed the state’s highway patrol and National Guard personnel last year as part of a public safety operation in partnership with local government officials and law enforcement.

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In the past five years, California has invested $1.1 billion in operations and initiatives to fight crime, support local law enforcement, and improve public safety. The Newsom administration has implemented a comprehensive approach as part of the governor’s Master Plan to tackle the fentanyl and opioid crisis.

By California Black Media

California National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force has seized over 7,000 pounds of fentanyl including 3.4 million pills since the state launched a multi-agency operation in January 2024.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state’s progress on May 7, National Fentanyl Awareness Day.

The Governor said he deployed the state’s highway patrol and National Guard personnel last year as part of a public safety operation in partnership with local government officials and law enforcement.

“As we recognize the serious dangers of illegal fentanyl, California is continuing to tackle this issue head-on. Our efforts are getting this poison off our streets and out of our communities as we continue to support people struggling with substance use.” Newsom said.

CalGuard Major General Matthew Beevers said that the state’s unprecedented investment in the Counterdrug Task Force has immobilized operations and revenue channels of transnational criminal organizations.

“The CalGuard is committed to supporting our state, federal, local and tribal law enforcement partners to eliminate the scourge of fentanyl,” Beevers said.

In the past five years, California has invested $1.1 billion in operations and initiatives to fight crime, support local law enforcement, and improve public safety. The Newsom administration has implemented a comprehensive approach as part of the governor’s Master Plan to tackle the fentanyl and opioid crisis.

The Newsom administration has expanded efforts to improve public safety across the state where operations occurred in cities such as San Francisco, Oakland, and Bakersfield.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed acknowledged that joint operation was a step in the right direction toward curbing illegal activity and improving public safety.

“Our coordinated work to shut down drug markets in San Francisco is making a difference, but we have more work to do,” Breed said.

“Together we are sending a message at all levels of government that anyone selling fentanyl in this city will be arrested and prosecuted,” she said.

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Alameda County

Community Rally Demands Supervisors Merge Recall with Regular Elections

A group of community-based organizations rallied prior to the May 14 Alameda County Board of Supervisors’ vote to persuade the Board to vote to merge the recall election of District Attorney Pamela Price with the regularly scheduled election calendar in November. The groups urged the county to use the funds for healthcare and homelessness relief rather than a special election.

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Special to The Post
Special to The Post

By Post Staff

A group of community-based organizations rallied prior to the May 14 Alameda County Board of Supervisors’ vote to persuade the Board to vote to merge the recall election of District Attorney Pamela Price with the regularly scheduled election calendar in November.

The groups urged the county to use the funds for healthcare and homelessness relief rather than a special election.

Stewart Chen, a member of the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council, told the Post that he and many members of the community-based participants supported the decision made by the Supervisors.

Chen said, “The voters voting in a special election in September will likely vote the same way in the November election. An extra two months won’t change people’s minds, but it will result in significant savings for the county. During times of financial uncertainty, especially when the county healthcare system is facing a huge deficit, it is unnecessary to waste taxpayers’ money on a special election that can easily wait two months.”

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Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price held a press conference Wednesday morning at Everett & Jones to discuss the recall election and her path forward now that a date is scheduled for November. Photo by Magaly Muñoz.
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