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California 2022 primary election results

Redistricting is a major force in some of the state's races.

ByABC News
June 7, 2022, 11:08 PM

California voters headed to the polls on Tuesday to cast their ballots in primaries for the governor, Senate, House of Representatives and the state legislature. Polls closed at 11 p.m. ET.

The state primary utilizes a nonpartisan top-two-finisher system where all candidates run in one race and the No. 1 and No.2 vote-getters advance to the general, regardless of political party. Even if a candidate reaches 50% in the primary, the top two still advance to the general.

Just over 2.9 million ballots had been sent back so far, according to Political Data Intelligence, a consulting firm that tracks returns. Fifty-three percent of the ballots returned were Democratic and 26% were Republican.

State Significance

Due to redistricting, many districts in California changed shape -- an example of the new maps around the country that could influence which party has control of the House in 2023.

GOP Rep. Michelle Steel was drawn into the same district as Democratic Rep. Katie Porter, a rising star in her party, causing Steel to seek reelection in the new 45th District, which also leans Democratic. Steel's main competitor is Jay Chen, a Navy reserve intelligence officer. Steel has accused Chen of mocking her accent. He responded with an op-ed titled "I didn't mock Michelle Steel's accent."

Another candidate facing a challenging future is Republican Rep. Mike Garcia, who represents northern Los Angeles County and who voted against certifying the 2020 election results. His district has been historically conservative but has become more liberal due to redistricting.

The Democratic front-runner to face him is former Assemblywoman Christy Smith, whom Garcia narrowly defeated in 2020.

PHOTO: A voter casts her ballot during Election Night at the L.A. County's Registrar-Recorder in Norwalk, Calif., Nov. 3, 2020.
A voter casts her ballot during Election Night at the L.A. County's Registrar-Recorder in Norwalk, Calif., Nov. 3, 2020.
Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images, FILE

A major theme in California on primary night will also be ongoing fears about crime and the best way to police cities.

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin faces a recall. Though his victory in 2019 was seen as a victory for progressives, he has faced backlash over the city's rise in theft, assault and drug overdoses. Critics contend he is an errant prosecutor, though supporters say he is trying to reimagine how law enforcement works (de-emphasizing incarceration, among other tactics). The recall vote will test how far liberal prosecutors can go in major cities.

Crime -- as well as the housing crisis and widespread homelessness -- will play a major role in the Los Angeles mayoral race. Billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso has become one of the leading contenders along with Rep. Karen Bass. Other candidates include Councilman Kevin de León and progressive candidate Gino Viola.