On Election Day, voters within the High Desert’s 34th Assembly District will select between two well-known, well-liked incumbent Republican legislators who delight themselves in getting issues carried out in Democrat-controlled Sacramento.
Across California, legislators discovered themselves sharing districts in late December, after the state redistricting committee redrew boundaries, because it does each 10 years. In most districts, legislators of the identical get together labored it out, with one legislator or the other opting to seek another office or to take a break, presumably in preparation for a future run.
“In politics, as in military combat, civil wars tend to be especially nasty,” Jack Pitney, a professor of American politics at Claremont McKenna College, wrote in an electronic mail. “Republicans cannot be happy about burning resources on a district that they would be sure to win anyway.”
The new 34th District straddles San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Kern counties. In the June major, Lackey and Smith carried out effectively of their High Desert house bases. Lackey received 45.36% of the vote within the Los Angeles County portion of the district in June, and Smith received 40.61% of the vote within the San Bernardino County portion. In Kern County, the place 2,374 individuals voted within the district in June, Lackey beat Smith, 45.15% to fifteen.73%.
In the top, Smith led with 31.1% of the general vote depend within the June major, and Lackey got here in second with 29.7%, sending the two Assembly members to a November runoff.
Smith simply completed his first time period in office. Lackey is searching for a 3rd and closing time period, resulting from time period limits.
The two males talked the scenario over on the Assembly flooring in January, they mentioned.
“I tried to get him to be in a different district,” Smith mentioned of Lackey. “He was adamantly ‘no.’ And I mentioned, ‘I look forward to the campaign.’ “
“We indicated that we were friends then, and we needed to be friends during the campaign, we need to be friends afterwards. That was the agreement,” Lackey mentioned. “Not sure that that’s where we’re headed.”
The pair almost tied in the June primary, with 1,041 votes separating them out of 76,043 votes cast. But every says they’re assured the vote will go their manner in November.
“We’ve got 60% of the district” in San Bernardino County, Smith mentioned. “We need to have a voice in Sacramento, and I’m the candidate to fill that spot.”
Smith ran to the suitable of Lackey, with mailers that spelled out Lackey’s identify within the type of the Hollywood signal and warned that he was going to convey “liberal tax increases and rampant crime from the streets of the Hollywood to our conservative High Desert.”
Lackey, a former California Highway Patrol officer, bristled on the mailer’s message.
“I think it misrepresented who I really am,” Lackey mentioned. “I mean, defunding the police? Seriously?”
On paper, Smith and Lackey look related.
Both males stress their potential to get issues carried out as Republicans within the Democratic-majority Assembly.
“I think the only reason I’m successful is because I do really look for the common ground without giving up principle,” Lackey mentioned. “Relationships are meaningful, and you have to just be a genuine communicator, and and not punch people in the mouth unnecessarily.”
“As a freshmen in my first two years, I was able to get bipartisan support for all my legislation,” Smith mentioned. “Crime, water issues, homeless issues. Those kinds of issues resonate with everyone.”
During the final time period, Lackey launched 29 payments and had 4 signed into regulation, together with a invoice requiring police officers to holster stun guns or Tasers on the side of their body opposite of where they carry their firearms, and one requiring the state to study the participation of homeless and foster youth in state apprenticeship programs and report its findings and proposals.
During the identical interval, Smith launched 28 payments and had 5 signed into regulation, together with payments to permit the (*2*) and one that provides honorably discharged veterans a 50% discount on contracting licenses or renewal fees.
If reelected, Lackey mentioned he needs to cross laws to forestall deaths like these of 8-year-old Lancaster boy Gabriel Fernandez and different at-risk youth, needs to reinstate a state demise overview panel to research alleged baby abuse deaths, and proceed advocating for the developmentally disabled.
If Smith is reelected, he mentioned he needs to crack down on illegal marijuana farms across the state, calm down what he sees as redundant development mandates and reform the California Environmental Quality Act to make it simpler to build extra housing.
As of Oct. 24, Lackey’s 2022 campaign committee had received $594,355 in contributions, based on the California Secretary of State’s office, together with $7,210 in contributions within the present cycle to his 2020 marketing campaign committee.
Major contributions to Lackey embrace a $4,900 contribution from San Bernardino County Professional Firefighters Local 935 State PAC Fund; $4,850 from State Building and Construction Trades Council of California PAC; $4,900 from Jordan Cunningham for Lieutenant Governor 2026; $4,900 from Melissa Melendez for Lt. Governor 2026; $4,900 contribution from house builders Ravello Holdings; $4,000 from BNSF Railway Co.; $5,000 from California Professional Firefighters PAC; $5,000 from Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters Political Action Fund; $4,900 from Walmart Inc.; $4,900 from the Los Angeles Police Protective League PAC; $4,900 from PG&E Corp.; $4,900 from California Medical Association PAC; and $9,700 from CREPAC – the California Real Estate PAC.
Meanwhile, as of Oct. 24, Smith’s 2022 marketing campaign committee had acquired $505,087 in contributions, together with $12,150 to his 2020 marketing campaign committee.
Major contributions to Smith embrace $4,900 from High Desert Jobs PAC; $4,900 from Friends of Frank Bigelow for Lt. Governor 2026; $4,900 from United Auburn Indian Community; $4,900 from warehouse company 55555 Amargosa LLC; $4,297 from property administration company Desert Pacific Management LLC, $4,900 from San Bernardino County Republican Party chairman Phil Cothran; $4,700 from plane upkeep, constitution and jet gross sales agency Prima Air; $4,900 from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Employees’ Benefit Association PAC; $4,900 from the Eagle Real Estate Group; and $4,900 from the California Medical Association PAC.
And much more has been spent past direct contributions.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, as of Oct. 24, not less than $541,891 had been spent by impartial events in assist of Lackey, together with $199,736 from the Standing Committee on Political Education of the California Labor Federation AFL-CIO. Another $200,875 had been spent by the California Alliance for Progress and Education opposing Smith. On their web site, the alliance describes themselves as “an alliance of business organizations. Committee major funding from California Association of Realtors, California Building Industry Association, California Correctional Peace Officers Association.”