The old days of voting in California’s low-key June primaries are over. Our Golden State will be among 14 states participating in 2020’s Super Tuesday presidential election on March 3.

While many eyes are locked on the race to be President Donald Trump’s Democratic opponent in the general election, California’s Congressional and Assembly races are also heating up.

The Citizen compiled this guide to the candidates running in the Assembly District 9 and the 7th Congressional District primaries.

The top two vote-getters in each of those elections will face each other in the general election on Nov. 3, regardless of party affiliation.

Congressional District 7 candidates

Ami Bera

U.S. Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, is seeking his fifth term as a member of Congress.

He represents District 7, which encompasses eastern Sacramento County.

Bera, who served his first term in Congress after defeating the Republican incumbent Dan Lungren in 2012.

Among the issues that are most important to Bera in his re-election campaign are health care, homelessness, affordable housing, and the country’s military situation in the Middle East.

Bera voted in favor of both counts of the impeachment of President Donald Trump, who was impeached and later acquitted. Last month, the congressman announced that he is endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden for president.

Jeff Burdick

Burdick, who lives in Sacramento, is running on a progressive platform. He has a political background that includes serving as the campaign manager for Brad Westmoreland, a Democrat who planned to challenge Bera in the 2018 election, but withdrew from that race.

Burdick additionally assisted a winning campaign of Jan Schakowsky, who has served as the U.S. representative for Illinois’ 9th Congressional district since 1999.

His top issues include the Constitutional amendment, universal health care and abortion.

As for his employment background, Burdick worked as a newspaper and magazine journalist before performing public affairs and communication work for large organizations.

Jon Ivy

Ivy is an U.S. Air Force veteran who worked for the Secretary of State’s office as the voter access coordinator, which handles language and extensibility for voters.

As a self-described “progressive Republican,” Ivy said that he does not support President Donald Trump, and he instead wants Bernie Sanders to serve as the nation’s president.

Ivy is currently working on earning his juris doctorate at the University of California, Davis School of Law, and is running a nonprofit focusing on voters’ rights.

The issue that are most important to Ivy are reforming the Republican Party, fixing a “rigged” economy, protecting people from climate change, bettering the public education system, achieving universal health care, getting money out of politics, and teaching civic engagement to children.

Robert ‘Buzz’ Patterson

Patterson is a retired U.S. Air Force pilot, former White House military aide under President Bill Clinton, a New York Times best-selling author, leadership consultant, frequent talk show guest, and a conservative speaker. The Republican candidate recently moved from Thousand Oaks to Folsom.

His educational background includes earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from Virginia Tech University and a master’s degree in business administration from Webster University, an institution located near St. Louis.

Among the issues that are most concerning to Patterson is polarization in politics, small businesses, unemployment, homeless veterans, and the growing number of undocumented immigrants in California.

Robert Christian ‘Chris’ Richardson

Richardson will once again challenge Bera. The Green Party candidate ran against the congressman in the 2018 District 7 primary election, placing fourth among five candidates.

Richardson is a software developer from Gold River, and the founder of World VistA – an organization which aims to improve worldwide health care through “making medical information technology better and universally affordable.”

Richardson is running on a platform consisting of health care, college debts, his opposition to “regime change wars,” and the “actual economy, and not just the stock market.” He also stated his desire to re-establish the Work Projects Administration.

Assembly District 9 candidates 

Jim Cooper

Assembly Member Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, is seeking his fourth term as the representative of District 9, which extends from south Sacramento to Lodi.

Cooper was first elected to the Assembly in 2014, after serving on the Elk Grove City Council since the city’s incorporation in 2000. He also served three times as the city’s mayor and he was a captain in the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department for 30 years.

His experience in the legislature includes serving as assistant majority leader, and assistant majority whip under then-Speaker of the Assembly Toni Atkins.

The assemblyman’s leadership efforts also include helping to deliver $4 million for a future facility for the Elk Grove Food Bank last July.

Cooper told the Citizen that some of the issues that are most important to him are the economy, the cost of housing, and assisting children.

Tracie Stafford

Stafford ran for mayor of Elk Grove in the 2016 and 2018 elections. The Democratic candidate's background also includes working as an advocate lobbying on behalf of legislation for nearly two decades. As a small business leader, she served as a spokesperson for various organizations, including the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence.

Stafford is focused on high housing costs, domestic violence, creating more middle-class jobs, improving rehabilitation for prisoners in state prisons, lowering or eliminating tuition for working people, and assisting “everyday people.”

Also concerning to Stafford is the high cost of campaigns that she says does not guarantee “the election of the best leader, but the best campaigner.”

Mushtaq Tahirkheli

Tahirkheli, who lives in Lodi, called running for Assembly part of his American dream. This first-time candidate immigrated to America from Pakistan 30 years ago.

Among the Democrat's top issues are assisting the working class, small businesses and disabled seniors and veterans, and providing additional funding for law enforcement.

Tahirkheli also desires to have the costs of land and houses reduced to increase home ownership opportunities for more people.

This candidate mentioned that he is a working-class man who can relate to the majority of people.

Eric Rigard

Rigard is the lone Republican in this Assembly district’s primary election.

The Elk Grove resident currently heads the public awareness ministry at the Calvary Christian Center, and he was drawn to political activism after attending a clergy summit in Washington, D.C.

Among Rigard’s main concerns are the cost of senior housing, homelessness, fees and regulations of farmers, and illegal drug use.

Rigard summarized why he feels he is the best candidate.

“I am a Christian, I am pro-life, I am pro-family, I’m definitely a conservative, and I’m pro-the people,” he said. “I really want to hear the heart of the people that are here in this district and see what they want and give them back representative government.”

How to vote in Elk Grove during the March Primary

Sacramento County’s Voter Registration and Elections Department will continue its election system that debuted in 2018. Voters will no longer visit local polling places on Election Day, but instead mail or drop off the ballots far in advance of the election.

Vote Centers opening

on Feb. 22

Elk Grove will have two Vote Centers where voters can vote in-person, starting 10 days before the election. These locations will be open on Saturday, Feb. 22.

Their hours will be 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and on Election Day, the hours will be from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

 California Northstate University, 9700 West Taron Drive

 The Center at District56, 8230 Civic Center Drive

Vote Centers opening

on Feb. 29

The Sacramento County elections staff will expand Elk Grove’s Vote Centers on Saturday, Feb. 29.

Most of these places will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

 Elk Grove United Methodist Church (8986 Elk Grove Blvd.), Franklin Community Library (10055 Franklin High Road), Laguna Creek Sports Club (9570 Racquet Court) – note: this location will close at 4 p.m. before Election Day, The Meadows Senior Living (9325 East Stockton Blvd.), Wackford Community and Aquatic Complex (9014 Bruceville Road).

Drop-off ballot

spots in Elk Grove

Voters can drop-off their ballots before Election Day at these locations across Elk Grove. They will be open during regular business hours, and they will close at 8 p.m. on Election Day.

The drop-off spots are: Bel-Air (8425 Elk Grove-Florin Road), Elk Grove City Hall (8401 Laguna Palms Way), Elk Grove Library (8900 Elk Grove Blvd.), Franklin Community Library (10055 Franklin High Road), Laguna Creek Racquet Club (9570 Racquet Court), Raley’s (4900 Elk Grove Blvd.), and the Wackford Community and Aquatic Complex (9014 Bruceville Road).

News editor Cameron Macdonald contributed to this story.