BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Tuesday, June 7 is the midterm primary election in Kern County and across California. Some of the state’s most competitive races are right here in the Central Valley.

17 News is taking a look at the candidates in each district and the key points shaping each race.

20th Congressional District


Here, we have Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy seeking re-election.

He’s being challenged by two Democrats: Fairfax Junior High teacher Marisa Wood and Ben Dewell.

On the right we have another two challengers: Republicans James Davis and Jim Macauley – who moved to Bakersfield just to run in the district.

The key points

McCarthy is seeking his ninth term in Congress. He’s never lost an election, but this is a really significant race for him, not necessarily in terms of his own re-election chances here in Kern, but if the GOP picks up enough seats in the House nationwide, McCarthy is in line to be Speaker.

22nd Congressional District


We have the Republican incumbent David Valadao facing off against five-term Bakersfield Assemblyman Democrat Rudy Salas as well as two other Republicans who consider themselves further to the right than Valadao: Chris Mathys and Adam Medeiros.

The key points

Will Valadao feel the effects of his vote to impeach former President Trump for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack?

Medeiros and especially Mathys cited that vote as their main reason for running in the first place.
Mathys has been out-spoken about his support of the former president. We’ll be watching to see how much of the Republican vote these two candidates pick up – which could have implications about Trump’s popularity nationwide.

Salas is the only Democratic candidate in this blue-leaning district. But Democrats have turned out to the polls in miniscule numbers in past elections here. We’ll looking to see what kind of turnout they have this time.

16th Senate District


We have a packed field here – Current state senator Democrat Melissa Hurtado, Democratic former Bakersfield Assemblymember Nicole Parra, Mayor of Delano Democrat Bryan Osorio and Republicans David Shepard and Gregory Tatum.

The key points

Hurtado originally launched a bid for a Fresno-centered district that included her home city of Sanger before switching to this race.

It’s been a heated campaign season between Hurtado and Parra in particular, with the two feuding online.

Osorio, on the other hand, aligns with the progressive wing of the Democratic party. How he fairs on Tuesday could have implications for how much of a progressive pull we have in the Central Valley.

Lastly, Shepard—a farmer from Porterville—has the backing of Kern’s best-known Republicans: Kevin McCarthy, Shannon Grove, Vince Fong. We’ll watch to see how this impacts his standing in the race.

12th Senate District


We have Republican Shannon Grove facing off against Democrat Susanne Gundy.

The key points

Grove is seeking her 5th term in the California state legislature. If she wins, this will be her last due to term limits.

32nd Assembly District

Here, we have Republican incumbent Vince Fong running unopposed.

35th Assembly District


We have two Democrats: current Kern 5th district Supervisor Leticia Perez and Bakersfield doctor Jasmeet Bains.

The key points

Both Perez and Dr. Bains will move on to November’s General Election because there are only two candidates. However, because of there are only two candidates the primary’s results should be a strong indicator of who might win in the fall. We’ll be watching to see if one candidate pulls away.

3rd District Supervisor


In the race to fill Mike Maggard’s seat on Kern’s Board of Supervisors, we have Maggard’s current chief of staff Republican Jeff Flores, former CHP assistant chief Republican Brian Smith and former Bakersfield Homeless Center CEO Democrat Louis Gill.

The key points

This is non-partisan position, but all three candidates have been very open about their party affiliation.

Republicans out-register Democrats in the district – we’ll be looking to see how big of a role party affiliation plays in the race.

Particularly, will Democrats back Gill and will the Republican vote sway to Flores or Smith?

2nd District Supervisor


Here we have incumbent Republican Zack Scrivner seeking re-election, facing challenges from Republican former Tehachapi police officer Pete Graff and Libertarian Kelly Carden.

The key points

Will this race be decided in the primary on Tuesday?

In county races, if a candidate gets 50% plus one vote, they win the position without having to be on the ballot again in November.

We’ll be watching to see if the incumbent current Chairman of the Board Scrivner reaches the threshold.

Kern County Auditor-Controller-County Clerk-Registrar of Voters


In the race to serve as Kern’s Auditor-Controller-County Clerk-Registrar of Voters – who runs Kern’s elections — we have Republican Aimee Espinoza as well as Republican Mark McKenzie.

The key points

This position—particularly the Registrar of Voters part—has been under intense scrutiny this year.

Week after week, we’ve seen residents here in Kern stand up at Board of Supervisors meetings and express concern with our elections.

McKenzie is one of those people.

Espinoza, on the other hand, is the current assistant to the position.

Many see this race as an outsider vs. insider contest.

We’ll be looking for which wins out – especially given this race will almost certainly be decided by the primary election results.

Kern County Assessor-Recorder


Here we have Republicans Laura Avila and Todd Reeves.

The key points

There is a lot to watch in this typically inconspicuous race.

Both candidates are long-time county employees now pitted against one another who have publicly feuded over the last month.

This is another race that will almost certainly be decided in the primary election.