Election 2022: Meet the LA County candidates in state Senate runoffs on Nov. 8

Voters across Los Angeles County will decide who to send to Sacramento as their next state senator during the Nov. 8 general election, with eight districts up for grabs.

Those state Senate districts touch every corner of the county, from the San Fernando Valley, to the South Bay — and some bleed into other counties. District 22, for example, now includes — after redistricting — several cities in San Bernardino County.

District 36, meanwhile, is mostly in Orange County, but also includes a sliver of LA County. Interestingly, that is the only district partly comprising LA County that is purple rather than overwhelmingly Democrat.

The candidates that will face each other in these eight state Senate races finished in the top two during their respective primaries in June.

Below is a roundup of state Senate districts up for grabs in November, the representatives for which LA County voters will either entirely or partly decide.

Daniel Hertzberg, Caroline Menjivar

District 20: Voters in this newly redrawn Latino-majority district — which stretches from Burbank to Pacoima to San Fernando to Canoga Park — will weigh a pair of Democrats and San Fernando Valley natives, Daniel Hertzberg and Caroline Menjivar. Hertzberg, the son of state Senate Majority leader and former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg, came in first during the June primary, receving about 31% of the vote. Menjivar, a Marine Corps veteran and LGBTQ advocate, came in second, with about 30%. Hertzberg had a strong lead in campaign contributions, as of Sept. 24. He had so far raised about $485,686 this calendar year, according to the state’s campaign finance records, and had $210,378 in cash on hand. Menjivar had raised $291,227, as of Sept. 24, and had about $222,719 in ending cash. Hertzberg has said that if voters send him to Sacramento, he would work on creating more affordable housing and improving health care. Menjivar recently said she has heard residents’ concerns about environmental justice, housing affordability and mental health challenges exacerbated by the pandemic.

Susan Rubio, Vincent Tsai

District 22: Democratic state Sen. Susan Rubio will try to win reelection against Vincent Tsai, a Republican deputy sheriff from San Dimas. Rubio crushed Tsai and a second Republican candidate during the primary, with nearly 60% of the vote. Tsai, who sued Los Angeles County over his suspension from the Sheriff’s Department for refusing to be vaccinated, had about 27%. The borders of the former all-San Gabriel Valley district have shifted east to add Chino, Montclair and Ontario from San Bernardino County. District 22 is overwhelmingly Democrat, according to the California Secretary of State’s 60-day registration report. About 48% of registered voters identified as Democrats, as of Sept. 9, compared to about 22% being Republicans. Rubio’s campaign coffers represent an overwhelming advantage for the Democrat. She had raised $481,775 since Jan. 1 and had $556,506 in ending cash, as of Sept 24. Tsai, by contrast, had raised $10,904.50 and had about $1,772 in cash on hand. Rubio, during her time in the Senate, has advocated for policies to improve education, protect domestic violence victims and fight climate change, according to her campaign website. Tsai, according to his website, is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and increasing funding for law enforcement while opposing vaccine mandates.

Ben Allen, Kristina Irwin

District 24: State Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, was elected in 2014 and 2018 to represent the 26th Senate District. In June, he received nearly unanimous support against two lesser-known Republicans, receiving 96% of the vote. He will face Kristina Irwin, who received 3.6% of the vote in June, during the Nov. 8 election. District 24 has been retooled to include Calabasas, the Westside, Hollywood and chunks of the South Bay.

Claudia Agraz, Maria Elena Durazo

District 26: The newly redrawn district includes Los Feliz, Echo Park, Koreatown, Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Boyle Heights and El Sereno. Incumbent Sen. Maria Elena Durazo had even more support during the primary than Allen, receiving 99.6% of the vote compared to 0.4% for her lone opponent, Republican Claudia Agraz, a community outreach organizer. The two will face each other again in the general election.

Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, Cheryl Turner

District 28: A new Democratic state senator will represent this district, which includes downtown Los Angeles and most of South Central LA.  Lola Smallwood-Cuevas and Cheryl Turner beat out a crowded field in the primary, receiving about 45% and 30% of the vote respectively. Smallwood-Cuevas’ war chest has so far outclassed Turner’s, with the former bringing in $650,918 from Jan. 1 to Sept. 24 while the latter had raised $87,060. Smallwood-Cuevas had $312,435 in cash on hand, as of Sept. 24, while Turner had $87,435. Smallwood-Cuevas, according to her campaign website, would try to solve the related homeless and housing crises by addressing production, affordability and services in a “three-pronged approach.” She would also advocate for environmental protections and universal health care, her website says. Turner also supports universal health care and protecting the environment, according to her website, as well as working to solve homelessness. She also backs police reform and implementing a livable wage.

Bob Archuleta, Mitch Clemmons,

District 30: In this district that straddles L.A. and Orange counties, state Sen. Bob Archuleta, a Democrat from Pico Rivera, will try to win his third term against Republican Mitch Clemmons, a plumber and business owner, in what could be a tight race. The two were separated by fewer than two percentage points during the primary, though two other Democrats likely diluted Archuleta’s support. The district, after all, is overwhelmingly blue, with registered Democrats comprising about 49.5% of all voters, as of Sept. 9. Republicans comprise about 21%. Archuleta, unsurprisingly for an incumbent, was flush with cash, having raised $925,345 this calendar year, as of Sept. 24, and ending the most-recent contribution period with $41,827 in cash on hand. Clemmons did not have campaign finance information available on the Secretary of State’s website. Archuleta, on his campaign website, has touted multiple accomplishments in ensuring energy independence, protecting the environment and providing access to health care. Clemmons, on his website, says he would take a tough-on-crime approach to public safety and would prioritize substance-abuse treatment for those who are homless.

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Rhonda Shader, Tom Umberg

District 34: Both Democratic incumbent Sen. Tom Umberg and GOP challenger Rhonda Shader will appear on the November ballot, as they were the only two candidates to run for this largely Central Orange County district — which also includes South Whittier — during the primary. Umberg beat Shader in the primary, 58% to 42%. About 48% of voters in District 34 were registered as Democrats compared to about 22% Republicans, as of Sept. 9. Umberg, like Archuleta, has amassed a large war chest. He had raised $568,110 this calendar year, as of Sept. 24 — but ended the most-recent contribution period with about $1.1 million in cash. Shader had a fraction of that, having raised $53,138 this calendar year and having $12,190 in cash on hand, as of Sept. 24. Umberg’s campaign website promotes a platform focused on public safety by fighting the opioid epidemic and gun violence, protecting worker and immigrants’ rights, advocating for veterans and supporting businesses. Shader, who owns a local insurance agency and works as a life and health coach, has said her platform is focused on lowering taxes, empowering local governments to combat homelessness, and ensuring teachers and public safety workers have resources they need, among other priorities.

Kim Carr, Janet Nguyen

District 36: Assemblywoman Janet Nguyen, a Republican and Huntington Beach Councilwoman Kim Carr, a Democrat, will scrap over this district, which is dominated by coastal Orange County but also incudes Cerritos. Nguyen, who has a strong contingency in Little Saigon, beat Carr during the primary, with about 57% of the vote. Carr had about 43%. District 36, though, is essentially purple, with fewer than two percentage points separating Republicans from Democrats, as of Sept. 9, with each party comprising a little more than one-third of registered voters there. Nguyen had a hug advantage in campaign contributions compared to Carr. The incumbent had raised nearly $1.2 million this calendary year and had about $649,046 in cash as of Sept. 24. Carr has had success in fundraising, just not as much as Nguyen, having brought in $423,120 this calendary year and finishing the most-recent contribution period with $134,868 in cash on hand. The two candidates have some policy similarties, with both having previously said they support a ban on offshore drilling locally, think access to voting should be easy, want to suspend California’s gas tax — at least temporarily because of the current high prices — and support the state’s efforts to fight climate change. But on some nationally hot-button issues, they align with their respective parties: Nguyen has said she is “pro-life” while Carr supports abortion rights, for example, and Nguyen opposes universal health care while Carr favors it.

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