2022 United States Senate election in California
The 2022 United States Senate elections in California will be held on November 8, 2022, to elect a member of the United States Senate to represent the State of California. There will be two ballot items for the same seat: a general election, to fill the Class 3 seat, beginning with the 118th United States Congress beginning on January 3, 2023; and a special election, to fill that seat for the final weeks of the 117th Congress. Democrat Alex Padilla was appointed to fill the vacancy created by Kamala Harris's election to the vice presidency, and he is seeking a full term. A jungle primary for each of the terms will take place on June 7. The top two vote-getters in each primary election, regardless of party, will advance to the special and regular general elections in November.
Kamala Harris, who was elected in 2016, resigned her seat on January 18, 2021, after she was elected Vice President of the United States in 2020 alongside Joe Biden. Governor Gavin Newsom had the power to select her successor, and appointed California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to succeed her.
Incumbent Senator Alex Padilla was appointed to the job in January 2021 following Kamala Harris's election to the office of Vice President of the United States. Following his appointment, Padilla quickly began to focus on his 2022 re-election campaign, as the fact that he was not been elected to the position means that he has a relatively low profile. Padilla's re-election strategy focuses on advocating for progressive policies and building ties with left-wing organizations that have a poor relationship with California's other Senator, Dianne Feinstein. The potential Democratic opponent to Padilla considered most likely to join the race was U.S. Representative Ro Khanna, a staunchly left-wing Democrat who rose to prominence as the co-chair of the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign, and who had a loyal base of support from California's Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities. On August 9, 2021, Khanna announced that he would be endorsing Padilla for re-election, which was viewed as likely ending any possibility that Padilla would face a serious Democratic opponent. It was noted by the San Francisco Chronicle that it is considered unlikely that Padilla will face any serious Republican opponent, as California's heavily Democratic lean has caused potentially strong candidates, such as U.S. Representatives Mike Garcia and Young Kim, to prefer to remain in their positions rather than launch a long-shot Senate run.