In a battle for the 23rd Congressional District seat, Kern County newcomer Tatiana Matta was leading against four challengers to get the chance to face Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy in the November election, but that could change.
As expected, McCarthy had earned the most support in the June 5 primary election with 32,850 votes, or 69.8 percent by 9:30 p.m., according to the Secretary of State’s Office. Matta, a Democrat, was in distant second place with 10.9 percent, earning 5,129 votes.
Lancaster resident Wendy Reed was nearly in a tie with Matta for second with 10.1 percent of the vote.
In Kern County, 68.06 percent of voters supported McCarthy, with Matta and Reed nearly tied for a distant second with 10.37 percent and 9.69 percent, respectively. Matta, who was endorsed by the California Democratic Party, is a native of Puerto Rico who came to Kern County a few years ago because her husband is serving in the U.S. Air Force. She lives on Edwards Air Force Base and owns her own business.
This was the second time Reed has run for the district seat. She faced McCarthy in the November 2016 election and lost.
Bakersfield resident Mary Helen Barro was in fourth place with 5.5 percent of the vote. She is a longtime educator and also has work experience as an insurance agent and broadcaster.
Fellow Bakersfield resident James Davis, who ran as a self-proclaimed “Deviant for Congress” with no political affiliations, was in fifth place with 2 percent of the vote.
Kurtis Wilson, a realtor and motivational speaker who is also from the Lancaster area, was dead last, earning 1.3 percent of the vote, according to the Elections Office.
Matta told The Californian that some of her priorities include health care for all, immigration reform and taking better care of veterans, among other priorities.
McCarthy has been entrenched in Kern County politics for more than 20 years. He has won around 75 percent of the vote each time he has run for Congress, according to the Kern County Elections Office.
The 23rd Congressional District starts in the Sequoia National Park area and makes its way south to Lancaster and includes substantial portions of Kern and Tulare counties. McCarthy and Matta could not be reached for comment the evening of the election.