Voter GuideState Senate

California is seeking state senators to represent 20 of its newly drawn districts, each home to more than 900,000 constituents. 


  • Collaborative skills – or at least, the ability to work with Democrats, given their overwhelming control
  • Subject expertise desired, but not required: Senators are assigned to any of 22 standing committees, six subcommittees or joint committees, each focused on areas such as labor, health and the environment
  • The art of persuasion: Make the case for as many as 50 bills a typical senator introduces in a regular session, or for specific budget items
  • An ear on the ground: Respond to the concerns of voters in their districts, such as homelessness or unemployment


$119,702 per year for rank-and-file senators, $128,680 for second-ranking members of each party, $137,655 for the president pro tem and the minority party leader, plus a per diem of $211, as long the Senate meets once every three days (so say goodbye to three-day weekends).

Candidates of any party are encouraged to apply, though conservative-leaning candidates should be prepared to work with a potential Democratic supermajority in the Legislature and a Democratic governor. 

About the hiring process:

The state Senate is seeing a shake-up this year due to a combination of term limits and new district maps following the 2020 Census. Senators serve staggered, four-year terms, and the 20 even-numbered districts are on the ballot this year. So some voters who were to pick a state senator in 2022 are now in new districts and won’t get a chance until 2024.    

Seven of the 40 current senators can’t run again due to term limits. Another four have chosen not to seek re-election. For some, that’s to pursue higher office: Sydney Kamlager of Los Angeles is running for Congress while Brian Dahle is running for governor. The others – Connie Leyva of Chino and Andreas Borgeas of Fresno – are bowing out of politics altogether.

In the June primary, no incumbents seeking reelection failed to secure their spots in the general election. There are five races that pit Democrats against fellow Democrats.

The current Senate has 31 Democrats and 9 Republicans. If they flip at least five seats, Republicans could eliminate Democrats’ two-thirds control that allows them to pass tax increases or put constitutional amendments on the ballot without any Republican votes.

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District 2

Safe Democratic
Mike McGuireElectedIncumbent
State Senator
Gene Yoon
Business Owner

District 4

Hot Race Safe Democratic
Marie Alvarado-GilElected
Public School Administrator
Tim Robertson
Labor Federation Executive
More details

District 6

Hot Race Leans Republican
Roger NielloElected
Small Businessman
Paula Villescaz
Health Policy Director
More details

District 8

Hot Race Safe Democratic
Angelique AshbyElected
Sacramento City Councilwoman
Dave Jones
Environmental Advocate / Educator
More details

District 10

Hot Race Safe Democratic
Lily Mei
Mayor Of Fremont
Aisha WahabElected
City Councilmember / Businesswoman
More details

District 12

Safe Republican
Shannon GroveElectedIncumbent
State Senator / Businesswoman
Susanne Gundy
Retired Program Manager

District 14

Safe Democratic
Anna CaballeroElectedIncumbent
California State Senator
Amnon Shor
Rabbi / Businessman

District 16

Hot Race Toss Up
Melissa HurtadoElectedIncumbent
State Senator
David Shepard
More details

District 18

Safe Democratic
Alejandro Galicia
Ceo / Veterans' Advocate
Steve PadillaElected
Chula Vista City Councilmember / Commissioner

District 20

Hot Race Safe Democratic
Daniel Hertzberg
Caroline MenjivarElected
Non-Profit Program Director
More details

District 22

Safe Democratic
Susan RubioElectedIncumbent
State Senator / Teacher
Vincent Tsai
Deputy Sheriff

District 24

Safe Democratic
Ben AllenElectedIncumbent
California State Senator
Kristina Irwin
No Ballot Designation

District 26

Safe Democratic
Maria Elena DurazoElectedIncumbent
State Senator
Claudia Agraz
Community Outreach Organizer

District 28

Safe Democratic
Lola Smallwood-CuevasElected
Educator / Community Organizer
Cheryl C. Turner
Civil Rights Lawyer

District 30

Safe Democratic
Bob ArchuletaElectedIncumbent
California State Senator
Mitch Clemmons
Plumber / Business Owner

District 32

Safe Republican
Brian Nash
Analytics Consultant / Businessperson
Kelly SeyartoElected
California State Assemblymember

District 34

Safe Democratic
Rhonda Shader
Mayor / Small Businesswoman
Tom UmbergElectedIncumbent
Senator / Small Businessperson

District 36

Leans Republican
Kim Carr
City Of Huntington Beach Councilmember
Janet NguyenElected
California Assemblymember / Business Owner

District 38

Hot Race Leans Democratic
Catherine BlakespearElected
Mayor Of Encitas
Matt Gunderson
Small Business Owner
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District 40

Hot Race Toss Up
Brian W. JonesElectedIncumbent
State Senator / Businessman
Joseph C. Rocha
Marine Captain / Attorney
More details