Learn more about candidates running for state offices

SAN DIEGO — All eyes will be on the Golden State as Californians hit the polls in November.

Would Californians elect a Republican governor? Will Sen. Dianne Feinstein be dethroned? These are just some of the important races to be decided on Nov. 6..

Governor 

There was no shortage of choices for gubernatorial candidates during June’s primary election, as 27 people vied for the title. In the end, current Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and Republican John Cox secured spots in the state’s top-two election system.

In San Diego County, Cox narrowly garnered more votes than Newsom in June, with 32.6 percent of the vote compared to Newsom’s 30.5 percent, according to results from the California Secretary of State. Statewide, California voted 33.8 percent in favor of Newsom and 26.2 percent for Cox, The New York Times reported.

John Cox has been endorsed by some powerhouse politicians in the GOP including President Donald Trump.  Trump said Cox gives California “a rare opportunity to turn things around and solve its high crime, high tax problems” and that “he’ll make California great again.”

Despite admitting he did not vote for Trump, Cox told FOX 5 he was “proud” of the support from the commander in chief.

Cox has also gained the support of House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, retiring Rep. Darrell Issa and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

Newsom has gained tremendous support from the Democratic party, including former President Barack Obama, as well as retiring California Governor Jerry Brown.

More on Republican candidate John Cox:

Cox blatantly states that he’s a businessman, not a politician, on his campaign website. He was raised by a single mother in Illinois, in the South Side of Chicago.  He attended Moraine Valley Community College and the University of Illinois Chicago Circle campus. He also graduated from ITT Chicago Kent College of Law.

He’s running to “to take California back from the special interests that own the politicians in Sacramento.”

His campaign slogan is “Help is On The Way!” Cox lists issues important to him as fixing the housing shortage, repealing the gas tax, education, housing affordability, homelessness, health care and immigration.

He resides in Rancho Santa Fe with his wife and has four daughters.

More on Democratic candidate Gavin Newsom:

Newsom currently serves as the state’s Lt. Governor.

His campaign slogan is “Courage. For a Change.”

Newsom said the Trump Administration is “moving our country backwards,” and “California must step up and not only defend our communities, but push forward on the values that truly make us great,” according to his campaign website.

As governor, Newsom says he will continue to fight for LGBTQ rights. He also has an array of topics he’s passionate about from celebrating diversity, universal healthcare, technology, criminal justice reform, ending the war on drugs and closing the pay gap.

He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and earned his B.A. in political science from Santa Clara University. Newsom currently resides in Marin County with his wife and their four children.

Lieutenant Governor

The race for lieutenant governor in California pits two Democrats against each other.

During the June primary, Republican candidate Cole Harris gained momentum across California and received the most votes for Lt. Governor in San Diego with 24.5 percent of the vote. However, Harris earned just 18.2 percent of votes statewide, according to the California Secretary of State.

In the end, two Democrats will be on the November ballot: Eleni Kounalakis and Ed Hernandez. The two ran neck and neck in  San Diego, with Kounalakis taking 20.8 percent of the vote and Hernandez just a shave under his Democratic opponent at 18.9 percent.

In the primaries, 23.7 percent of Californias voted for Kounalakis with Hernandez trailing just behind her with 20.6 percent of the vote.

Eleni Kounalakis:

Kounalakis, a California businesswoman, served as a U.S. Ambassador to Hungary under President Barack Obama. Her campaign fights to “lead the way for a better, stronger California.”

Issues important to her include improving the economy, affordable housing, affordable higher education, universal healthcare, LGBTQ+ rights, racial equity, and immigration, according to her campaign website.

Kounalakis boasts some influential endorsements, including President Barack Obama, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Rep. Maxine Waters. She earned her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and received her MBA from UC Berkeley. Kounalakis resides in San Francisco with her husband, a veteran journalist and their two sons.

Ed Hernandez:

Dr. Ed Hernandez vows to fight for progressive public policy. Currently a state senator representing the 22nd Senate District, he says he is passionate about multiple issues to make a better California. Hernandez played an integral role in passing a law to increase California’s smoking age to 21 and continues to fight against the increasing price of prescription drugs. As a practicing optometrist who works with predominately low-income communities, healthcare is an issue that hits close to home for him.

Hernandez also advocates for education, racial equality, immigrant rights, public safety and government reform. He wants to “bring people together and get things done,” according to his campaign website.

Hernandez has been endorsed by U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas, State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

He earned his B.S. degree in Biology from Cal State Fullerton and received a scholarship to study optometry at Indiana University. Hernandez resides in La Puente with his wife. He is a proud father and grandfather.

Attorney General

San Diegans overwhelmingly voted for incumbent Xavier Becerra in the June elections. The Democrat took 41 percent of the vote in San Diego County, and captured 45.3 percent of the vote across the state.

Also securing a spot on the November ballot is Republican Steven Bailey.  Records with the California Secretary of State indicate Bailey scored 25.7 percent of the vote in San Diego. The number nearly mirrors what California voted as a whole in June, with Bailey earning 25 percent of the vote in the Golden State.

Xavier Becerra:

Xavier Becerra is the first Latino to hold the title of Attorney General in California history. He vows to fight for affordable healthcare, immigrant rights, criminal justice reform, create policies that will tackle climate change, and protect Social Security benefits.

Becerra is also adamant about prosecuting sex trafficking rings, protecting women’s rights and helping Californians with mental illness.

He has an abundance of endorsements including current California Governor Jerry Brown, Senator Kamala Harris, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Congressman Juan Vargas. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Assembly member Rudy Salas, Assembly member Lorena Gonzales Fletcher, and Assembly member Rudy Salas.

Becerra, a proud son of immigrants, was the first person in his family to attend a four-year college. He graduated from Stanford University, where he also earned his juris doctorate . He is married and has three daughters.

Steven Bailey:

Retired Judge Steven Bailey prides himself as the “only candidate with a background expertise in criminal law.”

Judge Bailey served as Presiding Juvenile Judge for four years in El Dorado County and was also the elected Superior Court Judge in the district for nearly nine years.

His platforms include fighting for the death penalty, fighting against making California a Sanctuary State,  supporting “Three Strikes” that will keep habitual criminals behind bars, enforcing stricter penalties for drug and property crimes, gun control, and upholding criminals to serve their full terms.

Endorsements for Bailey include Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey, Fallbrook School Board Trustee Lee J. De Meo, local Republican parties, and the National Rifle Association.

Insurance Commissioner

Democrat Ricardo Lara faces Steve Poizner for Insurance Commissioner. Poizner is seeking his second term, having held the position from 2007-2011.

In the June primary, San Diegans were split on the two candidates. Poizner won the majority of votes with 44.1 percent, with Lara not far behind at 39.2 percent, according to a report from the California Secretary of State.

Richard Lara says he wants to fight for the people of California, as opposed to corporations, the billionaire class, pharmaceutical or insurance companies, according to his campaign website. Lara boosts a long list of endorsements including current the California Democrat Party,  California Governor Jerry Brown, California Lt. Governor Gabin Newsom, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris.

Poziner brings slightly different platforms in his campaign. His primary issues are disaster relief, cybercrime protection, healthcare, and tackling fraud, according to his campaign website.

Supt. of Public Instruction

November brings two fresh candidates for state schools chief to replace Democrat Tom Torlakson, who served two full terms in the position.

Tony Thurmond and Marshall Tuck are the two candidates who secured nominations from the midterm elections. In San Diego County, Thurmond trailed with 31.7 percent of the vote compared to Tuck’s 41.7 percent, according to a report from the California Secretary of State.

Thurmond’s upbringing plays a significant role in where he stands on education, and he claims that public schools saved his life. Born on a military base, his father was killed in the Vietnam War. His immigrant mother died when he was just six-years-old.  Thurmond lists keeping students safe from gun violence, transparency in public education funding, ensuring accountability for charter schools, addressing the teacher shortage, along with making college and career pathways accessible as just some of the things he will fight for if he’s elected.

Sen. Kamala Harris, Rep. Barbara Lee and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are just some of the politicians who have endorsed Thurmond.

Tuck worked in public education for 15 years in Los Angeles. He was the founding CEO of a nonprofit that coordinated efforts between the Mayor’s office and LA Unified School District to make improvements at underperforming schools. Tuck’s campaign website lists his strategies to improve California schools. He wants to improve pay for educators to lessen the teacher shortage, offer free college for teachers, provide mentors for new teachers, work for fair school funding and provide additional support for special education students.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, State Sen. Scott Wiener, former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Vista Deputy Mayor John Aguilera support Tuck.