Local Politics

Saturday, May 31 2014 03:00 PM

Three incumbents face easy ride Tuesday

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BY THEO DOUGLAS Californian staff writer tdouglas@bakersfield.com

Packed precinct walk schedules, frantic final-hour fundraising, and late-night ballot counting are all but out-of-the question for three Kern County incumbents, who will coast to victory Tuesday.

In the 16th Senate District, which sprawls from western Kern County to the eastern state line and includes Inyo County and parts of San Bernardino, Tulare and Kern counties, incumbent state Sen. Jean Fuller is guaranteed a spot on the ballot in November.

She first faces Democrat Ruth Musser-Lopez of Needles on Tuesday -- but Musser-Lopez, an archaeologist and former Needles City Council representative, is running as a write-in candidate and hasn't raised any money or filed any campaign finance reports.

Fuller, R-Bakersfield, said every race is a "nail-biter" -- but considering she has just one opponent and about $300,000 in cash on hand, that's a virtual impossibility.

Much the same can be said of incumbent Congressman Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, whose territory spans most of Kern and Tulare counties, and northeastern Los Angeles County.

Democrat Raul Garcia of Wasco, Republican Mike Biglay of Tehachapi, Libertarian Gail Lightfoot of Arroyo Grande and No Party Preference candidate Ronald Porter of Ridgecrest have been certified as write-in candidates for McCarthy's 23rd Congressional District seat.

Per new election rules, only the top two vote-getters in each race Tuesday advance to November. So you can call it now: McCarthy plus one of the four.

In the 34th Assembly District, which sweeps from Frazier Park through Bakersfield to far eastern Kern County, Democrat Virginia "Mari" Goodman is actually on the ballot -- but has already lost once to incumbent Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, in 2012.

Just like last time, Goodman hasn't created a fundraising committee or filed any campaign finance reports.

Grove, on the other hand, has more than a quarter million dollars in cash on hand.

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