On Oct. 10, counties start mailing 2022 general election ballots to 22 million registered California voters. It marks the close of a midterm cycle that began shockingly on Jan. 6, 2021, with the attempted overthrow of the last election via the violent U.S. Capitol insurrection. That resulted in 5 deaths, 138 injured police officers, and more than 225 participants arrested and charged.
In California, Republican voter registrations continued shrinking to under 24%. The state senate minority leader was removed after pushing a bogus conspiracy theory blaming the far-left for Jan. 6. The state GOP chairwoman was a featured speaker at a rally co-organized by an individual who had called for Americans to arm for civil war. Channeling their inner Trumps, 10 handily defeated GOP Congressional candidates sued the state claiming election fraud (and lost). And the $200 million attempted recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom failed in a landslide.
Unfortunately, S/P also covered the continued decline in the quantity and quality of political journalism. To find regular reporting on state and local political races became increasingly difficult. SactoPolitico.com couldn’t cover it all, but to assist voters, below is a guide to some of S/P’s coverage of more than a dozen California Congressional and state races on the Nov. 8 ballot.
NOTE: Races below featuring a GOP incumbent are in red, a Democratic incumbent in blue, and open seats are black.
CALIFORNIA CONGRESSIONAL RACES
Most closely watched will be which party wins control of the U.S. House. From early in 2021, S/P analysis was quite alone predicting no Red Wave would occur, and recently, most national outlets have begun adjusting their predictions ever closer to S/P.
Here are links to our coverage related to seven different House races – most of which could determine which national party controls the gavel come January.
CA-3 Kevin Kiley (R) v. Dr. Kermit Jones (D)
S/P has led all media in coverage of this race, with many important exclusives. In my opinion, the national rating services have been incredibly wrong calling this open seat a “likely” GOP pickup. Donald Trump would have won this new district by just 1.9% in 2020, and his endorsed candidate (Kiley) has many negatives and avoided the media. This includes all interview requests from us.
CA-6 Ami Bera (D) v. Tamika Hamilton (R)
CA-7 Doris Matsui (D) v. Max Semenenko (R)
These two Sacramento County races won’t be competitive as both Republicans challengers are too green and conservative for the district. But S/P regularly spotlighted both corporate-backed incumbents for tactics and positions at odds with local voters’ values. But until local Progressives choose to flex their electoral plurality, don’t expect these play-to-play politics to end any time soon.
CA-9 Josh Harder (D) v. Tom Patti (R)
The GOP early on tried to convince Beltway pundits about the vulnerability of Central Valley Democrat Harder; however, more tellingly Republican donors never quite believed it. Sophomore Rep. Harder came out early and believably against state and federal gas taxes, and he outraised GOP County Supervisor Tom Patti 7-to-1. And then there was this:
CA-22 David Valadao (R) v. Rudy Salas (D)
The Central Valley Republican Valadao faces a possible third straight close race, losing in 2018 but winning in 2020 by 1,552 votes. He tried to ride the partisan fence in a purplish district by voting for Trump’s impeachment, but this vote may lose him key enthusiasm among MAGA voters amid redistricting hurt him. Then there was his leveraging multiple unethical – and possibly illegal – fundraising tactics.
CA-23 Jay Obernolte (R) v. Derek Marshall (D)
The underdog Democrat in this race had a strong strategy worth Democratic attention: trying to win back rural voters in this largely San Bernardino County district. However, it will take a huge under-the-radar electorate shift that goes beyond a Dobbs-decision backlash to defeat Obernolte.
CA-45 Michelle Steel (R) v. Jay Chen (D)
Redistricting hurt Steel in this district, but the House freshman is a ferocious negative campaigner. Though both Steel and Chen are both Asian-American in a 37% Asian-American Orange County district, the Republican has tried playing both a race card and smearing Chen – whose parents immigrated from anti-Communist Taiwan – as a Commie-loving radical.
STATE CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICES
CA State Treasurer Malia Cohen (D) v. Lanhee Chen (R)
This the CAGOP’s lone chance to win a statewide race. Cohen never responded to SactoPolitico requests, and Chen has a serious resume and garnered more than a few newspaper endorsements. His main selling point is as a fiscal watchdog over a Democratic super-majority but without any major fiscal scandals that normally could sweep an underdog watchdog into office.
CA Board of Equalization, District 4: Michael Schaefer (D) v. David Dodson (D)
In this two-Democrat runoff, Dodson is running for a second-time on a good-government platform against the incumbent Schaefer’s highly blemished legal and ethical track record. But it is a largely uncovered race to represent one-quarter of the state’s voters.
CA Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) v. Nathan Hochman (R)
Most evaluators see Bonta winning easily here. Not even Republicans are talking up this race. Possibly because to win the Republican primary, first-time candidate Hochman hid that he is pro-choice, which he then revealed in the general in an obvious attempt to win independents. To no one’s credit, neither candidate responded to questions from SactoPolitico.com.
CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY
Assembly races are the most niche races of all, and the ones that require the most local vantage to cover. Consequently, SactoPolitico kept its coverage focused in its home Sacramento area, and here’s the unique coverage we were able to contribute to better inform local voters.
AD-5 Joe Patterson (R) v. Rebecca Chenoweth (D)
AD-7 Ken Cooley (D) v. Joshua Hoover (R)
AD-10 Stephanie Nguyen (D) v. Eric Guerra (D)