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September 19th, 2022       Political Note #505 California’s Elections

2022                                          General Election

If the United States were truly democratic (small d), California would have 15 Senators or so.  If 5 Senators were up for election every two year cycle, Californians would be guaranteed at least one interesting statewide election.  Not in 2022. California has two Senators, just like the other states.  That election is not interesting or competitive.  Neither is the election for governor.   The interesting and competitive elections are the Congressional ones.

Ten of the 52 Congressional races are competitive.  If you are interested in California.  If you are interested in helping California Democrats and, while you are at it, the country, you will contribute to some of the candidates in competitive races.  The closest races, the Democrats for whom help is the most urgent include Adam Gray in CA 13, Rudy Salas in CA 22, Christy Smith in CA 27, and Jay Chen in CA 45.  Look at Kermit Jones in CA 03, Will Rollins in CA 41, and Asif Mahmood in CA 40.

  • CA 49 D+5 Inc Mike Levin v ex Mayor Brian Maryott (Attorney and clean energy advocate v former Mayor of San Juan Capistrano)
    • On September 15 538 said 93 times in 100 Levin wins. Probable win by 11.2 points
    • No Polls
    • As of July 1, Levin had $2.9 million, Baryott had ½ million dollars.

  • CA 47 D+6 Inc Katie Porter (Political Note #142) v ex County Party Chair Scott Baugh. (Star legal disciple of Elizabeth Warren v attorney and assemblyman)
    • On September 15 538 said 82 in 100 times Porter wins. Probable win is by 7.6 points
    • No Polls
    • As of July 1, Porter had $20 million, Baugh had $1 million

  • CA 09 D+8 Inc Josh Harder (Political Note #499) v County Supervisor Tom Patti. (Young former business consultant and venture capitalist v businessman, amateur boxer, and Mike Tyson coach)
    • On September 15 538 said 76 times in 100 Harder wins. Probable win by 5.6 points
    • Polls are helpful.
      • July 26 B- rated poll funded by a term limits organization showed a 38-38 tie
    • As of July 1, Harder had $7.2 million, Patti had $360,000

  • CA 13 D+7 Assemblyman Adam Gray (Political Note 483) v Agribusinessman John Duarte. (Scion of dairy supply company who preferred being a prosecutor and politician v tree nursery owner who had trouble with justice department prosecutors)
    • On September 15 538 said 68 times in 100, Gray wins. Probable win is by 3.6 points.
    • Polls are helpful
      • August 7 B/C rated Republican funded poll showed Gray leading by 4;
      • August 2 B- rated poll funded by a term limits organization showed a 37-37 tie
    • As of July 1, Gray had $400,000, Duarte had $370,000.

  • CA 22 D+10 Assemblyman Rudy Salas (Political Note 484) v Inc David Valadao. (Bakersfield’s first Latino city councilor v an incumbent from a dairy farming family)
    • On September 9 538 said 54 out of 100 times Salas wins. Probable win by .8 points
    • July 15 B/C rated poll funded by Democrats showed an 8 point Salas lead
    • As of July 1, Salas had $700,000, Valadao had $1.7 million

  • CA 27 D+8 Former Candidate Christy Smith (Political Note #422) v Inc Mike Garcia (Bill Clinton Dept of Ed policy analyst and school board member v Navy flyer and Raytheon manager)
    • On September 15 538 said 48 times out of 100 Smith wins. Probable loss by .4 points.
    • No Polls since April
    • As of July 1, Smith had $300,000, Garcia had $1.7 million

  • CA 45 D+5 Community College Trustee Jay Chen (Political Note #405) v Inc Michelle Park Steel. (Naval reservist and Latin American business volunteer v daughter of Shanghai born businessman)
    • On September 9 538 said 36 times in 100, Chen wins. Probable loss by 2.8 points
    • No Polls
    • As of July 1, each candidate had $2 million.

  • CA 03 R+8 Physician Kermit Jones (Political Note #439) v Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (Lawyer and physician and war veteran v bright young conservative)
    • On September 9 538 said 17 time in 100 Jones wins. Probable loss by 7.4 points
    • No Polls
    • As of July 1, Jones had $600,000, Kiley had $160,000.

  • CA 41 R+7 Former Federal Prosecutor Will Rollins (Political Note #497) v Inc Ken Calvert. (Gay Palm Springs resident v real estate man)
    • On September 9 538 said 11 times in 100 Rollins wins. Probable loss by 9.0 points.
    • No Polls
    • As of July 1, Rollins had ½ million dollars, Calvert had $1.4 million

  • CA 40 R+4 Physician Asif Mahmood (Political Note #456) v Inc Young Kim. (Physician with Pakistani forbears v financial analyst born in Korea)
    • On September 9 538 said 4 times in 100 Mahmood wins. Probable loss by 12.4 points
    • Polls are helpful.
      • July 20 A- rated, Republican funded poll showed Mahmood losing by 16.
    • As of July 1, Mahmood had $1.2 million, Kim had $1.3 million

Statewide Races

US Senator

Appointed to replace Vice President Kamila Harris, incumbent Alex Padilla, previously President of Los Angeles City Council and California’s Secretary of State will run to complete Kamila Harris’s term which ends in January, 2023 and to begin a new-six year term.  His opponent in both elections is Republican Mark Meuser, an attorney and a candidate for Secretary of State in 2018. 538 says Padilla has 99 out of 100 chances to win election and is projected to win  by more than 25 points.  This race has not been polled. On July 1, Padilla had more than $7 million; Meuser had less than $30,000 available for campaigning.


Gavin Newsom is running for reelection.  His opponent is State Senator Brian Dahle from the northeastern part of the state.  Cook rates the race solidly Democratic. A Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll shows Newsom leading by 27 points.

Down ballot state offices.

Lt. Governor

Eleni Kounalakis  is also running for reelection. That election is separate from the Governor’s run.  The former ambassador to Hungary and Trustee of the World Council for Peace is opposed by Republican Angela Underwood Jacobs, an African American businesswoman and former city council member. Jacobs says she would cut taxes if she could.

Secretary of State

Shirley Weber was appointed Secretary of State to replace Alex Padilla.  Born in Hope, Arkansas, her family fled after they had a dispute with a white farmer.  She is professor emerita from San Diego State and a former member of the state Assembly.  Her opponent is Rob Bernosky, the Chief Financial Officer of a technology services company and school district trustee.

Attorney General

Rob Bonta was appointed Attorney General to replace Xavier Becerra after he was confirmed as US Secretary of Health and Human Services. The first Filipino-American to serve in California’s legislature, his family lived on a trailer near the United Farm Workers headquarters.  He received his BA and JD from Yale and is a former  US Assistant Attorney.  His opponent is Nathan Hochman, a graduate of Brown with a JD from Stanford.  He is a former US Assistant Attorney and is currently General Counsel at Browne …. & Ellis.

Additional contests

Fiona Ma.                     Ricardo Lara.              Tony Thurmond.                 Malia Cohen

Incumbent State Treasurer Fiona Ma is opposed by Cudahy City Councilman Jack Guerrero

Incumbent Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is opposed by Electronics Parts Manufacturer Robert Howell.

Incumbent State Superintendent of Instruction Tony Thurmond is opposed by Policy Executive Lance Christensen

State Board of Equalization Member Malia Cohen is the Democratic nominee for State Controller.  She is opposed by Policy Analyst Lanhee Chen.

Supreme Court

Justices have 12 year terms. Replacements are appointed by the governor, confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointment, and stand for retention in the next Gubernatorial election. The newly appointed Chief Justice, Patricia Guerrero has been confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments. She and three Associate Justices appointed since the last gubernatorial election will be considered for retention by the voters in November.

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