A cheat sheet for the 2022 US Senate race in California

US Senator Alex Padilla is heavily favored in the June election. But the veteran Democrat faces a very unusual election cycle.

Here is an overview:

Atypical electoral cycle

Padilla, who is seeking a full six-year term in the Senate in 2022, will now have to run in a concurrent election to continue serving the remainder of Kamala Harris’ term. Voters will see two races — a special senatorial election covering Harris’ term that ends this year and one regularly scheduled for a six-year term that begins in January — side by side on the ballot in June, then again in November.

Padilla was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom after Harris left her Senate post to become Vice President of the United States.

Before Harris’s resignation and Padilla’s appointment, a Senate vacancy in the middle of an elected term hadn’t happened in California since 1991, when newly elected Governor Pete Wilson nominated Republican John Seymour to fill the two remaining years of Wilson’s term in the Senate. Seymour lost his bid to stay in power in 1992 to Democrat Dianne Feinstein.

the race

There are more than 20 Senate candidates, but Padilla and a Republican opponent have emerged from the pack.

Padilla is a longtime Los Angeles politician who made history by becoming California’s first Latin American senator. His closest Republican opponent is constitutional attorney Mark P. Meuser.

According to a new LA Times poll, 44% of likely voters support Padilla, with Meuser trailing far behind with 14% support.

Meuser has criticized some of California’s coronavirus health restrictions, even filing lawsuits against Newsom. He also criticized Padilla and the Democrats for inflation and the state of the economy. Padilla was a supporter of President Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan and the Democrats’ infrastructure spending plan as well as climate and immigration legislation.

Also on the ballot is Dan O’Dowd, a billionaire software executive, whose campaign has focused on tech safety and what he sees as the dangers of self-driving cars.

Reading list

A socialist, a billionaire, a podiatrist: Alex Padilla’s challengers in the California Senate
(Sacramento Bee)

US Senate candidates debate issues
(NBC San Diego)

Meet the candidates for the US Senate
(23 ABC news)

Statements by US Senate Candidates
(California Secretary of State)

Why is this US Senate election cycle so strange?
(Sacramento Bee)

Talking to US Senate Candidates
(CBS News)

Alex Padilla facing the first election after his appointment
(Chronicle of Sam Francisco)

Profile: Alex Padilla
(Los Angeles Times)

Interview with Mark Meuser

Will Republicans ever win statewide office again?
(Cal Matters)

Meet the reclusive software billionaire who attacks Elon Musk
(New York Times)

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