California 2022 Midterm Election Review

November 10, 2022

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Final election results in California may be delayed, due to the fact that the state sends mail ballots to all registered voters, and any ballots postmarked by November 8 will still be counted through November 15. Officially, the secretary of state will publish the official vote counts by mid-December and California’s election results will be certified in early December.

California State Elections

Following a resounding defeat of his recall attempt last year, the California governor’s race was called one minute after polls closed for incumbent Governor Gavin Newsom, winning in a landslide against Republican candidate Brian Dahle. Tuesday’s elections also decide California’s secretary of state, attorney general, controller, superintendent, treasurer, lieutenant governor, and insurance commissioner.

Early returns indicate that all of the state’s incumbent Democrats are on the path to reelection:

  • Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis
  • Attorney General Rob Bonta
  • Secretary of State Shirley Weber
  • Treasurer Fiona Ma
  • Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara
  • Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond

The race for California Controller General has not yet been called, but Democrat Malia Cohen holds a strong lead against Republican challenger Lanhee Chen. Cohen declared victory on Tuesday night, but Chen has yet to concede. Chen was the Republican Party’s sole chance to break their 16-year losing streak for statewide office, following a strong primary showing where he led by 15 percentage points and landed endorsements from the largest California newspapers.

U.S. Senate

Californians also voted twice for US Senate, with Senator Alex Padilla elected to both his first full term as U.S. Senator for California and to finish out his current term as U.S. Senator.


There were seven propositions on the ballot this election in California, each with broad ranging implications for the state and its inhabitants.

  • 1: Adds the right to abortion and contraceptive use to state constitution – PASS
  • 26: Allows Native American tribes to offer sports betting on tribal lands – FAIL
  • 27: Legalizes sports betting via agreements with Native American tribes – FAIL
  • 28: Increases spending on arts programs in public schools – PASS
  • 29: Regulates staffing of kidney dialysis clinics – FAIL
  • 30: Imposes a tax on millionaires to support the purchase of electric vehicles – FAIL
  • 31: Upholds state law barring the sale of flavored tobacco – PASS

Despite campaign committees for and against Proposition 26 and Proposition 27 raising more than $440 million combined, both measures failed according to election returns.

The defeat of Proposition 30 can be attributed partially to Gov. Newsom’s opposition and his appearance in an ad for the “no” campaign. His stance that Proposition 30 was a “special interest carve-out” for Lyft put him at odds with the California Democratic Party and prominent labor and environmental groups and on the same side as the California Teachers Association.

What’s Happening in Los Angeles?

In Los Angeles County, the first wave of results was released on Tuesday night, consisting of mail-in ballots received before election day. The second drop added in results from early in-person ballots cast at county vote centers. Following the first two vote count drops, continuous and reoccurring updates will be available as election officials count votes cast in person on election day. Another set of results is set to be released on Friday, November 11, and more results will be released every Tuesday and Friday after that. Elections experts say that Angelenos should have a better sense of where the election results stand by mid-next week. Final results in Los Angeles County are scheduled to be certified by December 5.

City of Los Angeles Mayoral Race

In the City of Los Angeles’ mayor’s race, developer Rick Caruso and Rep. Karen Bass remain separated by a thin margin of votes in early returns, with large numbers of ballots uncounted. As of Wednesday afternoon, Caruso holds a lead with 51.25% of votes to Bass’ 48.75%. Both candidates expressed optimism about the returns on election night while acknowledging that final results could be days away. Caruso, a billionaire, has poured $100 million of his own fortune into the race, giving him the unprecedented capability to blanket the airwaves and TV stations with advertisements. Bass ran with the support of almost the entire Democratic Party establishment, with the exception of Gov. Newsom who declined to endorse either candidate.

City of Los Angeles Elections

In other key City of Los Angeles races, early results show that Hydee Feldstein Soto currently leads her opponent Faisal Gill by double digits in the race for Los Angeles City Attorney. In the fight for Los Angeles City Controller, Kenneth Mejia is leading City Councilmember Paul Koretz 60.81% to 39.19%. In Los Angeles City Council District 13, current Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell trails slightly behind his opponent Hugo Soto-Martinez, a labor organizer.

Los Angeles County Elections

In the race for Los Angeles County Sheriff, Robert Luna is leading incumbent Alex Villanueva with 36.33% of expected vote counted. Bob Hertzberg has a narrow lead over Lindsay Horvath in the race to fill the vacant Los Angeles County Supervisor seat in the 3rd District, previously represented by Sheila Kuehl.