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California State Senate
Last year, the state legislature eliminated single-family zoning and created a reparations task force. There are eight State Senate seats up for election in L.A. County this year.

What does a California state senator do?

The California State Senate is one-half of our state legislature. Along with the Assembly, it essentially serves as California’s Congress.

Everything you need as you prep for the June 7 Primary Election — study our interactive voter guides, ask questions, print your ballot and more.

State lawmakers draft and pass laws that govern the entire state. These laws can provide benefits that aren’t granted by the federal government, such as paid family leave or in-state tuition for undocumented college students. They can impose rules that apply statewide, like restrictions on buying guns, prohibiting recording calls without consent, or not allowing restaurants to provide single-use plastic straws unless a customer requests it. They can also set minimum standards for the state and allow cities and counties to go further — for instance, the state minimum wage is $15 an hour for businesses with more than 25 employees, but the city of L.A.’s hourly minimum wage will go up to $16.04 starting July 2022.

The State Senate has 40 districts, 15 of them in L.A. County. They serve four-year terms, with half of the seats going up for election every two years. No member of the legislature can serve more than 12 years total.

If you’ve voted in previous elections, your Senate district may have changed because of last year’s redistricting process, which happens once a decade after the Census count. You can enter your address into this tool from CalMatters to see whether your district has changed.

Around three-quarters of lawmakers in both California’s Assembly and State Senate are Democrats, meaning we don’t just have Democratic majorities, but supermajorities. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy to pass bills, though. There are still divisions among lawmakers that lead to drawn-out arguments and prevent legislation from moving forward.

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In recent years, the legislature has:

What’s on the agenda for the next term?

California has a lot of problems to tackle — wildfires, climate change, the highest poverty rate in the country, skyrocketing housing prices, threats of new COVID-19 surges, and falling enrollment in public schools and community colleges, to name a few. The legislature will have to figure out ways to address all of these issues and accommodate whatever new problems may arise.

Where do they go from here?

Seats in the state legislature don’t get a lot of attention, but they’re good resume-building positions that can propel people to prominent positions in local, state and federal government. Former state senators include U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff and L.A. County Supervisors Holly Mitchell, Sheila Kuehl, and Hilda Solis (all three supervisors were also assemblymembers).

More reading


The Candidates

Here are all the candidates running for eight State Senate seats in L.A. County. We’ve listed each candidate’s title, party affiliation, campaign website, and campaign finance where information was available. For incumbent senators, we’ve also included links to their profiles in CalMatters’ Legislator tracker. The top two candidates in each district, regardless of party, will compete in the runoff election in November.

Two races in L.A. County are considered highly competitive: District 20 and District 30.


District 20

From CalMatters’ 2022 Voter Guide:

Hot race / Safe Democratic

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.

Ely De La Cruz Ayao, Real Estate Broker (Republican)
Campaign website: none found

Daniel Hertzberg, Businessman (Democratic)
Campaign website: hertzbergforsenate.com
Campaign finance: See all campaign contributions via the California Secretary of State website

Caroline Menjivar, Non-Profit Program Director (Democratic)
Campaign website: carolinemenjivar.com
Campaign finance: See all campaign contributions via the California Secretary of State website

Seydi Alejandra Morales, Attorney/Businesswoman/Parent (Democratic)
Campaign website: seydiforsenate.com
Campaign finance: See all campaign contributions via the California Secretary of State website


District 22

Kimo Mateo, Father/Operations Manager (Republican)
Campaign website: mateo4senator.com
Read more about Mateo’s policy priorities and experience on Voter’s Edge

Susan Rubio, State Senator/Teacher (Democratic)
Campaign website: susanrubio.com
State Senate website: sd22.senate.ca.gov
Campaign finance: See all campaign contributions via the California Secretary of State website
See Rubio’s State Senate record via CalMatters’ Legislator Tracker

Vincent Tsai, Deputy Sheriff (Republican)
Campaign website: tsai4senate.com
Campaign finance: See all campaign contributions via the California Secretary of State website
Read more about Tsai’s policy priorities and experience on Voter’s Edge


District 24

Ben Allen, California State Senator (Democratic)
Campaign website: benallenca.com
State Senate website: sd26.senate.ca.gov
Campaign finance: See all campaign contributions via the California Secretary of State website
See Allen’s State Senate record via CalMatters’ Legislator Tracker


District 26

Maria Elena Durazo, State Senator (Democratic)
Campaign website: mariaelenadurazo.com
State Senate website: https://sd24.senate.ca.gov/
Campaign finance: See all campaign contributions via the California Secretary of State website
See Durazo’s State Senate record via CalMatters’ Legislator Tracker


District 28

Jamaal A. Gulledge, Public Servant (Democratic)
Campaign website: jamaalgulledge.com/

Joe Lisuzzo, Los Angeles Businessman (Republican)
Campaign website: joelisuzzo.com/
Campaign finance: See all campaign contributions via the California Secretary of State website
Read more about Lisuzzo’s policy priorities and experience on Voter’s Edge

Kamilah Victoria Moore (Democratic)
Campaign website: none found

Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, Educator/Community Organizer (Democratic)
Campaign website: lolaforca.com/
Campaign finance: See all campaign contributions via the California Secretary of State website

Cheryl C. Turner, Civil Rights Lawyer (Democratic)
Campaign website: cherylturnerforsenate.com
Campaign finance: See all campaign contributions via the California Secretary of State website
Read more about Turner’s policy priorities and experience on Voter’s Edge


District 30

From CalMatters’ 2022 Voter Guide:

Hot race / Safe Democratic

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.

Bob Archuleta, California State Senator (Democratic)
Campaign website: bobarchuletaforsenate2022.com
Campaign finance: See all campaign contributions via the California Secretary of State website
See Archuleta’s State Senate record via CalMatters’ Legislator Tracker

Henry Bouchot, Councilmember, City of Whittier (Democratic)
Campaign website: henryforsenate.com
Campaign finance: See all campaign contributions via the California Secretary of State website
Read more about Bouchot’s policy priorities and experience on Voter’s Edge

Martha Camacho Rodriguez, Teacher/Water Advocate (Democratic)
Campaign website: none found
Read more about Rodriguez’s policy priorities and experience on Voter’s Edge

Mitch Clemmons, Plumber/Business Owner (Republican)
Campaign website: Facebook page
Campaign finance: See all campaign contributions via the California Secretary of State website
Read more about Clemmons’ policy priorities and experience on Voter’s Edge

More reading about this race:


District 34

Rhonda Shader, Mayor/Small Businesswoman (Republican)
Campaign website: shaderforsenate.com
Read more about Shader’s policy priorities and experience on Voter’s Edge

Tom Umberg, Senator/Small Businessperson (Democratic)
Campaign website: none found
State Senate website: sd34.senate.ca.gov/
Campaign finance: See all campaign contributions via the California Secretary of State website
See Umberg’s State Senate record via CalMatters’ Legislator Tracker


District 36

Kim Carr, City of Huntington Beach Councilmember (Democratic)
Campaign website: votekimcarr.com
Campaign finance: See all campaign contributions via the California Secretary of State website

Janet Nguyen, California Assemblymember/Businesswoman (Republican)
Campaign website: janet2022.com
Campaign finance: See all campaign contributions via the California Secretary of State website

More reading about this race:

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