The phrase “the most important election in our lifetime” has been used quite often but when it comes to the upcoming primary election on March 3, it could be one of the most important primary elections on the local and state level that’s happened in a while.
There’s the wide open Democratic primary that’s looking more like California could have more of a say than ever as to who the Democratic nominee will be who will challenge President Donald Trump in the November election. And on the local level, those in the Porterville Unified School District will decide on two bond measures — one local and one state — that could provide PUSD with $64.4 million in funding for facilities.
The last day to register to vote is Tuesday, February 18. Voter registration cards are available at locations throughout Tulare County.
Mail-in registration cards can be requested by calling 624-7300 or 1-800-345-VOTE, a free hotline. Register can also be done online at: www.sos.ca.gov.
Vote by mail requests through the mail or by phone will be accepted through February 25. After February 24 vote by mail ballots can be obtained at the Tulare County Registrar’s Office in the Tulare County government complex at 5951 S. Mooney Boulevard. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by March 3.
The polls will be open on March 3 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. A map of poll locations can be found here: https://electionsapp.tularecoelections.org/
Here’s a guide to issues that will be on the ballot for local voters:
Those who live in the former Porterville Elementary School District will be asked to approve Measure L, a $33.4 million school bond to fund modernization and renovation projects in the district’s elementary and middle schools.
Local voters will also be asked to pass the biggest school bond in state history, Proposition 13, a $15 billion school bond. The school bonds can only be used for modernization and renovation projects and can’t be used for new schools.
If Measure L passes, the district has stated it could receive $31 million in matching funds form Prop. 13 if it passes for a total of $64.4 million. If Measure L doesn’t pass, the district won’t receive any funds from Prop. 13.
The school bond issue is heating up with proponents and opponents now actively campaigning.
The Terra Bella Joint Union Elementary School District is also seeking a $5 million bond on the March 3 ballot.
The bond would generate $317,000 a year.
In Terra Bella and PUSD, property owners would pay an addition tax of $3 cents per $100,000 assessed value if the bonds pass. All of the school bonds will need a 55 percent approval rate to pass.
Those in the Lindsay and Strathmore area will help decide if they want to keep incumbent Kuyler Crocker as their District I Supervisor.
Crocker has two opponents – retired undersheriff Larry Micari and realtor Robin Stearns. If one of the three receive more than 50 percent of the vote on March 3 then that person is the winner and becomes supervisor. Otherwise the top two finishers will advance to the November election.
Democrat Drew Phelps is challenging incumbent Devon Mathis in the District 26 State Assembly race. This should be a tune up as those two should be the top two vote getters who advance to the November election.
Two races for the House of Representatives should also be tune-ups. Kevin McCarthy-R is the incumbent in the 23rd district, which represents Porterville.
He’s being challenged by Democrat Kim Mangone, a retired engineer. Those two should be the top two vote getters who advance to the November election.
Democrat T.J. Cox is the incumbent in the 21st district, which includes Earlimart, and it’s looking like he’ll face a rematch with previous incumbent, Republican David Valadao.
Cox unseated Valadao in the 2018 election in a too-close-to-call race that was initially called for Valadao. But Cox was declared the winner after mail-in votes were counted.
Both should advance to the November election but there are two wild cards in the race – a father-son team who are actually running on opposing parties.
Ricardo De La Fuente is a Democrat running in the race while his father, Roque De La Fuente is running as a Republican.
The Democratic Primary is wide open with the leading contenders continuing to be Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar. The wild card could be Michael Bloomberg, who has gone all in on California and could be gaining traction.