California 2022 General Election Roundup

California Government Update

Overview: A Status Quo Election?

The outcome of the 2022 general election is largely determined now that almost every vote has been counted. As anticipated, it appears very little will change.

Democrats will continue to have supermajority control in both houses of the legislature and will also hold every statewide office.

Voters passed the measures they were expected to given the political climate in the state, including a constitutional amendment to protect access to abortion and contraception and a ban on most flavored tobacco products.

Democrats Sweep Statewide Offices Again

Every Democrat running for statewide office won. No Republican has won a statewide race since 2006, when then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger won reelection and Steve Poizner was elected to be Insurance Commissioner.

Governor Gavin Newsom (D)* defeated Brian Dahle (R)
Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis (D)* defeated Angela Underwood Jacobs (R)
Attorney General Rob Bonta (D)* defeated Nathan Hochman (R)
Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber (D)* defeated Rob Bernosky (R)
Treasurer Fiona Ma (D)* defeated Jack Guerrero (R)
Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara (D)* defeated Robert Howell (R)
Controller Malia Cohen (D) defeated Lanhee Chen (R)
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond (D)* defeated Lance Christensen (R)

*Incumbent

Legislature

Democrats will retain supermajority control of both houses of the California State Legislature. The Assembly will have no fewer than 60 Democrats out of 80 total Assemblymembers, while the Senate will have at least 31 Democrats out of 40 total Senators. 

Only a few legislative races remain too close to call:

AD 7 Josh Hoover (R) vs. Ken Cooley* (D) Sacramento
AD 40 Suzette Valladares* (R) vs. Pilar Schiavo (D) Los Angeles
AD 47 Christy Holstege (D) vs. Greg Wallis (R) Palm Springs
SD 16 Melissa Hurtado* (D) vs. David Shepard (R) Bakersfield

*Incumbent

When all the races have been decided, California is expected to have the most diverse legislature in the state’s history.

Ballot Propositions Largely Fail

Californians have long rejected change in uncertain economic times, and that trend continued in the 2022 general election, with most ballot measures being rejected by wide margins, including two high-profile measures that would have permitted betting on sports.

The results of the statewide ballot measures were as follows:

1 Constitutional Right to Reproductive Freedom YES
26 Sports Wagering on Tribal Lands NO
27 Online Sports Wagering on Tribal Lands NO
28 Public School Arts and Music Education Funding YES
29 Regulate Kidney Dialysis Clinics NO
30 Tax to Fund ZEV/Wildfire Programs NO
31 Prohibition on Sale of Certain Tobacco Products YES


Congress

In the U.S. Senate, Gov. Newsom appointed current U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D) to complete Vice President Kamala Harris’ Senate term ending in January 2023. Padilla was elected to a full six-year term.

In the House of Representatives, California’s delegation will remain largely Democratic, but nationally Republicans have won at least the 218 seats needed to secure the majority. At least a couple of the GOP pickups shifting control of the House were won in California. With the change in party control, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) will hand the speakership gavel to the Republicans in January 2023.

Los Angeles Elections Update

With Governor Newsom coasting to victory in his bid for reelection, much of the attention was on the mayoral race in the City of Los Angeles, which wasn’t decided until a week after the election. Congresswoman Karen Bass secured a win over real estate developer Rick Caruso. Bass becomes the first woman—and only the second African American—to hold the position.

Five new members were elected to the 15-member City Council, and their policy positions during the election suggest Mayor-elect Bass may be working with a more progressive City Council. 

Measure ULA, commonly known as the “mansion tax,” appears to have passed and will impose a new “Homelessness and Housing Solutions Tax” on transfers of residential and commercial real property valued in excess of $5 million in the city of Los Angeles. The revenue raised by the new tax, expected to be between $600 million and $1.1 billion annually, is intended to be used to fund affordable housing and tenant assistance programs.

manatt-black

ATTORNEY ADVERTISING

pursuant to New York DR 2-101(f)

© 2022 Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP.

All rights reserved