Appointed last year to fill Kamala Harris's Senate seat, new California Senator Alex Padilla will have to run twice in 2022 to keep the seat, yet both races will likely be among the least compelling in the country.
How unremarkable has appointed U.S. Senator Alex Padilla’s first year in office been? In the latest UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) poll, Padilla has a higher percentage of people who have no opinion of him (40%) than have a positive opinion of him (34%) or a negative opinion of him (26%).
ELECTION NEWS: Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) will be filing to run in the 2022 Senate race at noon. He'll be running both to fill the remainder of the current term, and for a full term of his own. https://t.co/6sIOPh1k7f— KRON4 News (@kron4news) February 22, 2022
And that is probably good enough for another term! KRON4 reports that Padilla will file papers to run again on Tuesday. Since this is a primary year, like the whole Matt Haney-David Campos AD-17 race, we will vote on the same race multiple times. The June 7 primary race will be to fulfill the remainder of Harris’ term (until January 2023), and then the November 8 general election will be for the next full term (January 2023-January 2029).
The filing deadline has not arrived yet, it’s on March 11, so there are still 18 days where some legitimate challenger could jump in. But as of right now Ballotpedia lists 30 other candidates running, none of whom frankly seems credible enough to pull in anything more than low single digit percentages in an election.
Consider the fundraising totals seen above. Padilla has pulled in nearly $8 million in contributions, his next closest opponent Chris Theodore has received barely above $230,000 in contributions. The vast majority of these candidates have, as of the late latest filings, not yet raised a single dime.
And this will be one of the least interesting Senate races in the country. Sure, the Senate is up for grabs this November, but as seen above, all of the prognosticators have this seat as an easy win for Padilla and the Dems. And despite the predictions of a midterm “wipeout” for Democrats, they could very plausibly retain control of the Senate and even build on their tiny majority. As the Cook Political Report points out, the GOP is defending 20 Senate seats, the Dems only 14. Only six seats are currently rated as toss-ups.
Image: @SenAlexPadilla via Twitter