By 2 a.m. ET, Conway had about 35% of the vote, while Democrat Lourin Hubbard was second with about 20% and Republican Matt Stoll and Democrat Eric Garcia were behind him with about 15% each.
As neither candidate will win a majority of votes, the top two will face off on June 7 to determine who will complete Nunes’ term.
Conway is the best-known of six candidates vying to replace Nunes, who resigned in January and left his seat in the district that covers much of Fresno and Tulare counties.
Conway has represented many area voters as a former Tulare County Supervisor and former Minority Leader in the state Assembly. She had cast herself as a staunch Trump supporter who was best suited to fill the remaining months of Nunes’ term because of her connections to lawmakers across California and Washington.
Republicans hold the advantage in the district, but it has become increasingly competitive in recent years. In the most recent breakdown of party registration available from the state, nearly 39% of voters in the current 22nd District were registered as Republicans, 34% as Democrats, and 20% as “no party preference.” .
Partly because of the mission’s brevity, the first race to replace Nunes among four Republicans and two Democrats was largely sympathetic, largely focusing on local issues like drought and the fight to get more water for locals. Central Valley farmers.
The major divide among the Republican candidates was between those who said they were solely focused on the Nunes seat and those who were simultaneously seeking another congressional position for the term that begins in 2023.
Conway argued voters should support her because she would play a ‘gatekeeper’ role and not use the office as a ‘stepping stone’ to another Congressional office, vowing to focus on unfinished district work , including helping voters with issues such as passport delays and social security. benefits.
Three of the candidates – Stoll, Garcia and Republican Michael Maher – are also seeking to represent the new 21st District, where they will face Costa for a normal two-year term that begins in 2023.
Under California rules, if no candidate receives a majority of votes (50% plus 1) in the special election, the top two, regardless of party, advance to the runoff on June 7. It will be the same day that California holds its statewide primary elections. A runoff could cause confusion, as the names of one or more special election candidates could appear twice on the June ballot if they are vying for a second position.
In an interview with CNN ahead of Tuesday’s primary, Conway expressed his desire to try to address water shortages in the Central Valley that have devastated area farmers, noting his frustration with the series of lawsuits filed by of “extreme environmentalists” and the weather that embraced no compromise that would allow the region’s agricultural industry to thrive. She noted that she was one of the co-authors of the 2014 California Water Bond that allowed state officials to borrow billions of dollars for water storage projects. water, including dams and reservoirs, and provided resources to address groundwater contamination.
She also highlighted her work in the aisle of the California state legislature, working on initiatives such as replenishing the state’s rainy day fund with former Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.
“I had many opportunities that voters graciously gave me and I learned from them,” she said. “I’m not a long-time politician. I was 50 when I was elected to the oversight board – so it was a quick study. I think when young people, when they get elected, they think that ‘they have more time. I said, ‘No, I’m here to work.'”
Stoll, a retired Navy fighter pilot and small business owner, said he would use his time in Congress “to push back all aspects of the progressive agenda and what Joe Biden stands for.”
Garcia, a Navy veteran, told CNN he would focus on just one bill to help struggling families in the Valley during the remaining months of Nunes’ tenure — an effort to restore credit. enhanced monthly child tax that ends in 2021 after Democrats. efforts to expand it collapsed. In his run in the 21st congressional district, as well as the Nunes district, he focused on long-standing air pollution and water contamination issues in the Central Valley – posing for those who “have been left behind”.
Hubbard is a director with the state water resources control board. Like Conway, he is not seeking another congressional position, has championed progressive policies that go far beyond even what Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has offered as a presidential candidate. He told CNN he supports eliminating all federal overtime taxes to help low- and middle-income families. He supports student loan debt forgiveness, favors tuition-free community colleges, and would also like to see a “debt-free public college” where the state and federal government cover the costs of four-year public universities. He also wants the federal government to guarantee every person in America a union job that pays at least $20 an hour and craft a proposal that would ask the government to pay off up to $25,000 or $50,000 in medical debt for some American families to help ease the financial pressures that many are feeling.
This title and story have been updated with additional developments.