Posting

State Senate

Hot Races

About CalMatters | Support this guide

The primary election for the California Senate will take place on June 7, 2022. Voters in the 20 even-numbered districts will elect a senator to represent them.

Loading the hot races for State Senate…

District 4

The district

This sprawling district takes in much of the Sierra, running from Owen’s Lake to Lake Tahoe before jutting west across the Central Valley to rope in Modesto and the rest of Stanislaus County.

Voter registration: Democratic 34.7%, Republican 38.1%, no party preference 19.2%

The scoop

After being drawn outside the district, Sen. Andreas Borgeas, who represents most of the area, is not seeking re-election in this new GOP-friendly seat. That opened the door to a phalanx of other Republican hopefuls. They include former U.S. Rep. George Radanovich, a Mariposa grape grower who was previously president of the California Fresh Fruit Association; Steven Bailey, a retired El Dorado County judge who made his opposition to the state’s criminal justice reforms central to his unsuccessful campaign for attorney general in 2018; and Jeff McKay, a school board member and former Ceres city council member who may draw support from the district’s main population center.

Two Democrats are on the ballot, including the state party-backed Tim Robertson, executive director of the North Valley Labor Federation, and Marie Alvarado-Gil, a public school administrator. But given the district’s Republican lean, it’s unclear whether either will make it to November.

Applicants

  • Democratic
  • Republican
  • American Independent
  • Green
  • Libertarian
  • Peace & Freedom
  • No Party
Loading campaign finance data…

Key Endorsements

Steven Bailey

  • Former U.S. Rep. John Doolittle
  • Gun Owners of California
  • California Bail Agents Association

Jeff McKay

  • Assemblymember Heath Flora
  • Ceres Mayor Javier Lopez

George Radanovich

  • House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy
  • former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
  • Former U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham
  • Assemblyman Frank Bigelow

Tim Robertson

  • California Democratic Party
  • Rep. Josh Harder
  • SEIU California

District 16

The district

Hooking around the east side of Bakersfield, this district balloons outward across the Tulare Basin, extending to Kettleman City on the west side of the valley and to Hanford on the east. Nearly 60% of voters are Latino, and though Democrats dominate as a share of registered voters, white conservatives have traditionally had outsized influence at the ballot box.

Voter registration: Democratic 41.2%, Republican 28.3%, no party preference 22.8%

The scoop

This Democrat-on-Democrat race features two Central Valley politicians competing to represent their home turf. 

Sen. Melissa Hurtado, a Sanger Democrat, jumped into this campaign late to avoid a face-off with Sen. Anna Caballero, a Merced Democrat, in a neighboring district to the north. That ruffled the feathers of Nicole Parra, a former Assemblymember who was already running. She’s vowed to duke it out with Hurtado, who she says assured her that she wouldn’t enter the race (Hurtado’s campaign denies that such a promise was made). Parra acknowledges that the Senate Democratic Caucus backing Hurtado means she’ll be fighting against the odds, but she’s banking on local support and the appeal of an anti-establishment message.

The two Latina lawmakers have plenty in common. Both have soft spots for bipartisanship and business-friendly legislation. Parra, who worked for Republican Carly Fiorina’s 2010 U.S. Senate campaign, is the more thorough example. Delano’s 26-year-old mayor Bryan Osorio is running as a progressive alternative.

While the Democrats fight among themselves, most of the area’s elected Republicans have rallied behind David Shepard, the son of a four-generation Porterville farming family.

Applicants

  • Democratic
  • Republican
  • American Independent
  • Green
  • Libertarian
  • Peace & Freedom
  • No Party
Loading campaign finance data…

Key Endorsements

Melissa Hurtado

  • Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins
  • Senate Democratic Caucus

Bryan Osorio

  • California Working Families Party
  • California Young Democrats

Nicole Parra

  • California Latino Water Coalition Chairperson Paul Rodriguez
  • Kings County Sheriff David Robinson
  • Corcoran Police Chief Reuben Shortnacy

David Shepard

  • U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy
  • Sen. Shannon Grove
  • Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward

District 20

The district

Spanning the San Fernando Valley, from Cayuga Park to Burbank to Sylmar, this district is the northern, ranch home-dotted extent of the City of Los Angeles.

Voter registration: Democratic 53.0%, Republican 16.2%, no party preference 24.5%

The scoop

A family affair? Sen. Bob Hertzberg has reached his term limit and is trying to pass the torch to his son, Daniel, 31, a first-time candidate and sales manager at a South Bay DoubleTree hotel. The outgoing senator’s approach seems to be working: Daniel Hertzberg has amassed dozens of establishment endorsements, including the backing of the party, plus an overwhelming amount of campaign cash. 

Hertzberg’s most prominent opponent in this Democratic, Latino-majority district is Caroline Menjivar, a Marine veteran and representative for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in the East Valley. Equality California, the state’s most prominent LGBTQ+ civil rights group, endorsed both Hertzberg and Menjivar, who are both gay.

Though the district skews overwhelmingly Democratic and most predict Hertzberg and Menjivar to make the top two and move on to the general election, the lone Republican in the race, Ely De La Cruz Ayao, could win enough votes to bump aside one or the other.

Applicants

  • Democratic
  • Republican
  • American Independent
  • Green
  • Libertarian
  • Peace & Freedom
  • No Party
Loading campaign finance data…

Key Endorsements

Daniel Hertzberg

  • California Democratic Party
  • California Labor Federation
  • California State Council of Laborers
  • California Nurses Association
  • SEIU California State Council
  • Treasurer Fiona Ma

Caroline Menjivar

  • State Sen. Connie Leyva
  • State Sen. Henry Stern
  • Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl
  • Los Angeles Times
  • California Democratic Party Latino Caucus
  • California Democratic Legislative Women’s Caucus

District 30

The district

This district, which covers the Gateway cities of eastern Los Angeles County and extends north into the San Gabriel Valley and dips down into northern Orange County, is one of the more diverse Senate districts in the state. It includes a significant Latino population, as well as sizable Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. 

Voter registration: Democratic 49.3%, Republican 21.0%, no party preference 23.8%

The scoop

An incumbent in a Democratic stronghold normally doesn’t have to worry about re-election. But Sen. Bob Archuleta, a retired cop and the former mayor of Pico Rivera with strong labor ties, may be an exception. He’s facing a sexual harassment lawsuit and is up against Henry Bouchot, a Latino Whittier City Council member and a Marine veteran who is making Archuleta’s alleged “abuse of power” a campaign issue. He also has a war chest to rival the incumbent’s, thanks in part to the $100,000 he loaned his own campaign. Archuleta has consistently denied the allegations made in the lawsuit. He narrowly won the California Democratic Party’s endorsement, and maintains the support from elected officials and unions.

Also on the ballot: Democrat Martha Camacho-Rodriguez, an elected member of the Central Basin Municipal Water District’s board of directors, and Republican Mitch Clemmons, the owner of a plumbing business.

Applicants

  • Democratic
  • Republican
  • American Independent
  • Green
  • Libertarian
  • Peace & Freedom
  • No Party
Loading campaign finance data…

Key Endorsements

Bob Archuleta

  • California Democratic Party
  • Los Angeles County Federation of Labor
  • Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond
  • Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon

Henry Bouchot

  • Democrats of North Orange County
  • Several local city council members

District 38

The district

The district stretches along the coast from northern Orange County through the Camp Pendleton Marine base and down to La Jolla. In few swaths of the state have political views shifted as quickly from rock-ribbed Republican less than a decade ago to narrowly Democratic.

Voter registration: Democratic 37.3%, Republican 31.8%, no party preference 24.2%

The scoop

Republican incumbent Pat Bates can no longer seek re-election due to term limits. That may be good timing, given the partisan bent of this new district.

Catherine Blakespear, the mayor of Encinitas, got into the race early and established herself as the Democratic Party’s favorite. A former Los Angeles Times journalist turned lawyer, Blakespear has been in Encinitas local government for eight years where she prioritized boosting housing production and reducing the coastal city’s carbon footprint. She may face some competition from firefighter union leader Joe Kerr, who entered the race at the last minute ​​after getting boxed out of a race for Orange County supervisor. Kerr is presenting himself to the voters as a tax-shy centrist, which he says is more in line with the affluent coastal district’s values. 

Matt Gunderson, a former auto dealer in Orange County, has the district’s Republican vote all to himself. No doubt he’s watching closely to see which Democrat makes it to the November ballot.

Applicants

  • Democratic
  • Republican
  • American Independent
  • Green
  • Libertarian
  • Peace & Freedom
  • No Party
Loading campaign finance data…

Key Endorsements

Catherine Blakespear

  • California Democratic Party
  • California Nurses Association
  • California Labor Federation
  • Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis
  • Former Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez

Matt Gunderson

  • California Republican Party
  • Sen. Pat Bates
  • Former U.S. Rep. Mimi Walters
  • Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn.

Joe Kerr

  • California Professional Firefighters
  • U.S. Rep. Lou Correa
  • Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris