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My focus in Tuesday’s state primary election, I confess, is on the presidential race.

It’s been captivating in the same way that a car crash, five-alarm fire or circus high-wire act is. You can’t avert your eyes, despite the underlying grotesquerie and potential for disaster unfolding before you.

Obviously, many people in Monterey County share my attentiveness to the races at the top of the tickets. Thousands turned out in the past two weeks in Salinas and Monterey to see Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders make campaign stops in their hard-fought race for the Democratic nomination.

I’m sure thousands — supporters and protesters alike — would have turned out if presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump had graced any our hometowns with one of his freestyle stump appearances.

But the federal office that will be solely decided by voters on the Central Coast will be the 20th District Seat in Congress being contested by leading candidates Democrat Jimmy Panetta and Republican Casey Lucius. The winner won’t be decided until November with a general election runoff between Panetta and Lucius.

Because of my interest in the presidential race, I wondered which of the candidates Panetta and Lucius voted for in Tuesday’s primary. It would seem a very important election for them, since it goes toward determining who will be in the White House should they enter the next Congress.

I put the question to Panetta and Lucius — via their campaign Twitter accounts — mid-morning Tuesday and wondered whether they would respond.

Lucius answered within 18 minutes. She said she voted for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, one of the last candidates standing before Trump became the presumptive GOP nominee. Former GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said this week he, too, voted for Kasich in the California primary.

Lucius, in a tweet, cited, “experience, moderate, real policy positions” as reasons she went for Kasich and not Trump or Ted Cruz.

I figure Panetta voted for Clinton since he warmly introduced her to the crowd a couple weeks ago at her Salinas rally at Hartnell College. And his father, Leon Panetta, served in Bill Clinton’s administration and with Hillary in President Obama’s cabinet. Those are nice potential allies for a would-be freshman congressman.

An hour later, I was still awaiting Panetta’s response on what I assumed would be his obvious choice. Perhaps he’s too busy Election Day to respond. Or doesn’t want to unnecessarily alienate any of those 7,000-plus Sanders supporters who turned out last week in Monterey.

I only hope he does what everyone should do today — vote for the candidates of your choice.

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Close up of a laughing clown at the fairgroundSuper Bowl 50 was boring. The commercials were so-so, the halftime music OK, though I didn’t catch all the words to Beyoncé’s new political song. Consequently all the yammer about a Beyoncé backlash is over my head. I’m happy about that. But not as happy as I am about the freaking circus the 2016 presidential race is turning out to be.

I admit there have been nervous moments when I’ve considered exploring how difficult it would be to emigrate to Australia, Canada or New Zealand should any number of the candidates somehow win enough Electoral College votes to be our next president.

This gloom passes quickly. I realize the loony primary contests being waged by both parties are simply the latest iterations of what’s always a messy, cantankerous and thoroughly democratic slog through a farrago of lies, vainglory and snake oil toward the final November winnowing.

The nation has survived 44 presidents, and we will survive the 45th.

That said, I can’t help but sympathize with many of my fellow citizens who seem scared out of their wits by what passes for presidential decorum in the second decade of the 21st century. The low level of intellect and inspiration in much of the cheap patter in the primary races and debates is chilling.

Sorry, Democrats, it’s not just the off-the-cuff rantings of Donald Trump or glitches in Marco Rubio’s memory card that is dragging down the ideas and visions offered by the candidates. Hillary Clinton’s “artful smear” brigade and Bernie Sanders’ incessant call for revolution — as if a majority of Americans are ready to take to the barricades over campaign finance reform — has the party of grown-ups bickering like a vast left-wing conspiracy against a cabal of warmongering neo-liberals.

The delightful infighting, after the snow settled in New Hampshire, will go on for many more weeks. Most likely without Chris Christie, soon to be forgotten as the Jersey Boy who froze Rubio’s brain. That’s the only clarity achieved in this week’s primary. On to the very different states of Nevada and South Carolina on Feb. 20. There’s plenty of drama to come.

— Who will be the last Republican establishment candidate  — Jeb Bush or John Kasich — left standing to be insulted as a weakling and walked over by Trump?

— Who will be the last Cuban-American authentic conservative — Ted Cruz or Rubio — left standing to be insulted as a weakling and walked over by Trump?

— What will be the next vulgarity Trump employs on the stump, having already freed shit, fuck and pussy from the shackles of political correctness? Who, in the self-proclaimed party of family values and biblical rectitude, will give a shit?

—  Will Michael Bloomberg run as an independent and restore the field to its rightful level of having two Manhattan billionaires?

— Will Sanders, millennial heartthrob, go on making history and become the first Jew to win multiple presidential primaries? Will his average campaign contribution rise from $27 to real money like $28?

— Will Clinton, the woman who would be president, suffer the indignity of having that last glass ceiling be made impregnable again by a change candidate from her party’s left wing?

The answers to these and many more questions will play out over the next few months in a spirited presidential contest that is proving America has never stopped being great.

And while he’s promising the moon, stars, great walls, mass deportations, guillotines and so much winning we’ll grow weary of ceaseless victory, maybe Trump can promise to make Super Bowls great again. Could help him in North Carolina.

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