Democrats and Republicans fight for Congress majority in Sacramento area legislative districts

Immigration, health care, college affordability, and gun control re-occur as crucial issues in many districts


Senate Democrats - CC BY 2.0

Dianne Feinstein in 2014 giving a speech on how student loans affect female students greater than men. Feinstein is running in the Nov. 6, 2018 election, seeking her 6th term as U.S. Senator.

Camille Escovedo

Students registered to vote can cast ballots for their choice of future lawmakers, judges and other representatives, in addition to proposed legislation for the 2018 midterm elections.  

The Associated Students, Inc. at Sac State will shuttle students registered in Sacramento County to the campus vote center at Modoc Hall, where they can drop off ballots or vote in person on Election Day, the college’s website said. The Vote Center is the only one of its kind at a California university for the election.

It is listed among other polling places by the California Secretary of State website, open Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Election Day, when it is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Associated Students, Inc., runs the Office of Governmental Affairs where Danielle Aragon works as the civic engagement coordinator.

“At ASI, the reason that we really push voter registration and actually going and voting is because historically, college students don’t vote in midterm elections specifically,” Aragon said.

The state’s last midterm election in 2014 was a “historic low” for college-age voter turnout, when just 53 percent of young adults were registered to vote and only 8 percent cast ballots, Aragon said.

“It’s important for you to really research these positions, really research the people running and make sure you’re making an informed vote towards somebody that you think is going to support your status as a college student,” Aragon said.

Alexander Bui, a civil engineering major at Sacramento State, said he tries to do his own candidate research before talking to other people.

“I’ve tried to ignore some of the TV ads that are just based on attacks,” Bui said. “I don’t think it’s a very objective or very smart way to go about it. I’ve tried to go and visit their respective candidate pages, and try to figure out what it is they’re saying for themselves.”

Joshua Patton, a Sac State geography major, said he is not yet familiar with the candidates up for election.

“To be honest, I haven’t really looked into it that much yet, I’m over here trying to get my work done for school and everything, and basketball, so I’m real busy right now,” Patton said. “This upcoming weekend, I’m probably gonna take some time just to look at all the candidates and see how they can benefit us.”

For college students who have little time to research, here’s a breakdown of the legislative races in the Sacramento area.

U.S. Senate

California’s Senate race shows Democrat incumbent Dianne Feinstein far in the lead over fellow Democrat Kevin de Leon.

Key issues that Feinstein’s platform addresses include competitive agriculture, reducing drug trafficking, tax reform, job creation, quality of K-12 education, affordability of higher education, clean energy and affordable health care accessibility, according to her government website.

Yet, the California Democratic Party officially endorsed Leon, whose platform focuses on “Medicare for All,” clean energy, gun control, access and funding for higher education, immigration reform and further decriminalizing marijuana, his website states.

State Senate District 6

In the California State Senate District 6 race, Democrat incumbent Richard Pan faces off against nonpartisan Eric Frame to represent parts of Sacramento and Yolo County.

Pan’s platform focuses mainly on access to health care and education, the economy, and “to combat global warming,” his campaign website said. Frame’s campaign website lists some of his key issues as Sacramento’s homelessness, high rent, and human trafficking.

3rd California congressional district

In California’s 3rd congressional district, Democrat incumbent John Garamendi competes against Republican Charlie Schaupp to represent Colusa, Yuba and Sutter counties, and parts of Lake, Glenn, Sacramento, Yolo, and Solano counties.

Garamendi’s platform includes increasing manufacturing jobs in the U.S., access to health insurance and services to rural communities, lowering student loan interest rates and using cleaner energy, his website said.

Schaupp’s campaign website offered less detail, but listed his key issues as improving congressional accountability, budget issues, attention to forests and opposition to the Delta tunnels project.

4th California congressional district

The 4th congressional district covers Alpine, Calaveras, El Dorado, Amador, Mariposa, and Tuolumne counties, and parts of Madera, Nevada, Fresno, and Placer counties. Republican incumbent Tom McClintock faces off against Democrat Jessica Morse to represent the district in the House of Representatives.

The fight for Congress majority between Democrats and Republicans is intense in District 4, where KCRA 3 reported immigration to be the crux of this particularly controversial race.

McClintock is against California’s status as a sanctuary state, which he said puts communities at risk. Morse said immigration law needs changes, like a reformed Dream Act and an end to family separation policies, according to KRCA 3.

District 4 tends to vote conservatively and demonstrated support for Trump, who won the district by 54 percent in 2016, The Sacramento Bee reported.

The September debate at Mariposa County High School offered 360 seats, The Sacramento Bee reported. Half of the seats went to campaigners, the other half by lottery, and ticket requests were in the multiples of available seats.

McClintock’s platform also focuses on natural resources, increasing trade, more water directed to farms in the Central Valley, alternatives to former President Barack Obama’s health care law policies, and other issues, his website said.

Morse’s platform advocates for livable wages, local business, increasing access to Medicare, affordable housing and fire prevention, according to her campaign site.

6th California congressional district

Democrat incumbent Doris Matsui competes with fellow Democrat Jrmar Jefferson for the 6th congressional district, consisting of parts of Sacramento and Yolo counties.

Some key issues listed on Matsui’s campaign site are gun violence prevention, support for DACA and citizenship paths for undocumented immigrants, college affordability and women’s reproductive rights.

Jefferson’s candidacy opposes background checks for guns and did not clearly specify a position on health care. The Sacramento Bee reported that Jefferson said California should comply with federal immigration laws and that he supported decriminalizing all drugs.

7th California congressional District

Republican Andrew Grant challenges Democrat incumbent Ami Bera to become Congress representative for the 7th congressional district, which covers a large section of Sacramento County.

Grant’s main objectives are deregulating commerce, lowering taxes, funding road infrastructure, creating a Customs and Border Protection office at the Sacramento International Airport, increased “vetting of foreign visitors,” and more local decision-making, his site said.

Bera’s key issues on his campaign site are strengthening the middle class, counterterrorism efforts, women’s reproductive rights and protections against discrimination, affordable health care and education and water conservation.

9th California congressional district

Democrat incumbent Jerry McNerney and Republican Marla Livengood are racing to represent the majority of San Joaquin County and parts of Sacramento and Contra Costa counties in the ninth district at the House of Representatives.

McNerney’s platform includes regulating corporations, increasing affordable health care coverage, reducing climate change impacts and tax reform, according to his website.  

Livengood’s campaign website did not specify her position on tax reform or gun control, but said, “Health Care, gas, utility and food costs continue to rise, while self-serving politicians continue to steal our hard-earned income,” and that she is concerned with kids being “at risk at the very place they should feel the safest.” She said she supports de-regulating the agricultural industry.

California State Assembly District 3

Republican incumbent James Gallagher and Democrat Sonia Aery are the candidates for California’s 3rd State Assembly district legislator.

Gallagher’s website said his key issues are water and flood control, lowering taxes, directing more education funding to local levels, expanding county jail capacities, opposing “Obamacare” and decreasing gun control.

Aery’s website said her main focuses involve renewable energy, increasing funding for state colleges and universities for no tuition for California residents, increasing gun control, civil rights and single-payer health care.

California State Assembly District 4

California State Assembly District 4 has narrowed competitors down to Democrat incumbent Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and Brandon Nelson of the Libertarian party as its future state assemblymember in Sacramento.

Aguiar-Curry’s platform involves local business, increasing broadband access, water conservation, fully funding pre-kindergarten education and higher education affordability, her website said.

Nelson’s campaign fundraising site said some of his main issues are affordable housing, lowering taxes, increasing job training in high schools and growing the marijuana industry.

California Assembly District 6

Republican incumbent Kevin Kiley and Democrat Jackie Smith compete to represent California’s 6th State Assembly district as a state assemblymember.

Kiley’s campaign site lists key issues like protections for victims of sexual assault, grand jury transparency, freedom of speech protections at colleges and easing the transfer process between grade schools in different districts.

Smith’s candidacy promotes affordable housing, affordable health care, prescription drug cost transparency for seniors, vocational training at community colleges, and natural disaster protection, according to her website.

California Assembly District 7

Democrat incumbent Kevin McCarty faces opposition from Republican Scott Schmidt to become California’s 7th State Assembly district assemblymember in the city that hosts everyone’s favorite public university, Sacramento.

McCarty’s campaign website listed main issues such as health care access, combating climate change, criminal justice reform, gun violence prevention and focusing on the middle class.

Primary issues of Schmidt’s campaign were listed on as affordable housing, transitional housing, medical treatment and job training for homeless people.

California Assembly District 8

The California State Assembly district 8 pits Democrat incumbent Ken Cooley against Republican Melinda Avey.

Cooley’s main focuses include changing prison realignment law, drug trafficking, decreasing regulations that prevent certain medical rehabilitation expansions and directing targeted tax credits for businesses, his website said.

Avey’s website said her key issues are repealing the gas tax, support for law enforcement, infrastructure, funding for grade schools, affordable college and reducing homelessness with addiction services and law enforcement.

California Assembly District 9

Democrat Harry He challenges fellow Democrat and incumbent Jim Cooper for the role of California’s 9th State Assembly district representative.

His campaign site said he focuses on creating a public campaign finance system in California to lower the influence of money in politics, expanding public health care, renewable energy and criminal justice reform to decrease recidivism.

Cooper’s key issues include protections for victims of sexual assault, greater penalties for sexual offenders, clean energy, community and law enforcement relations, and after-school resources for children, according to his website.