California ’22 Mid-Term: Historic Wave of Black Candidates Set to Win Election

Karen Bass, center, is one of several Black candidates who ran in the midterm election. Her race — for mayor of L.A. — is still too close to call. (Maxim Elramsisy / California Black Media)

Joe W. Bowers Jr. | California Black Media

A wave of Black candidates in California are expected to win after this week’s general election. Among them are three candidates leading in their races to be elected to statewide constitutional offices.

Two African American candidates running for seats in the state Legislature are expected to win and become the two newest members of the California Legislative Black Caucus.

In Los Angeles, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA-13), who is running for mayor of California’s largest city, is still in a too-close-to-call, dead-heat race with billionaire developer Rick Caruso as the ballot count continues.

Three candidates — Dr. Shirley Weber for secretary of State, Tony Thurmond for state superintendent of public instruction and Malia Cohen for state controller – are running for statewide office.

Weber and Thurmond have already been projected to win their races.

For the first time in California history, there is a chance that three Black state constitutional officers will be elected to serve in office at the same time.

In the legislative races, Assembly District 60 (Moreno Valley), Corey A. Jackson is leading Republican small business owner Hector Diaz-Nava. And in the race for Senate District 28 (Los Angeles) to replace Sydney Kamlager, two Black candidates are running for the same seat. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas (D) is in the lead over Cheryl C. Turner (D).

There are 40 State Senate seats. Twenty are being contested in this election.

While regular updates are being provided for the 165 California elections held to fill state and federal offices, as with every statewide election, no final ballot counts are available on election night. Election results are updated at 5 p.m. each day throughout the canvass as counties count the remaining ballots.

Vote-by-mail ballots postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service on or before Nov. 8 and received no later than Nov. 15 have to be counted.

The official certified results of the election will be posted by Dec. 16, 2022, at

The candidates on the general election ballot were the top two finishers from the June primary.

For some races, winners have been projected by the Associated Press, which conducts a survey of the numbers posted by local election officials. AP projects winners using vote returns and other data.

California Black Media is reporting that 27 African American candidates are running in 24 of the state or federal races on the general election ballot. That’s 14.5% of the races. Blacks make up 5.8% of California’s population.

Four Black candidates are running statewide. Three are Democrats and one is a Republican. The following are results available for statewide races.

Incumbent Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is projected to defeat state Sen. Brian Dahle (R).

Incumbent Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis (D) is the projected winner over Black Republican candidate Angela Underwood Jacobs.

Incumbent Democratic Secretary of State Shirley Weber, a Newsom appointee, is the projected winner over her Republican opponent, Rob Bernosky.

Incumbent State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond is the projected winner over Lance Ray Christensen. This is a non-partisan race.

For Controller, Democrat Malia Cohen leads Republican Lanhee Chen.

Incumbent Treasurer Fiona Ma (D) leads Jack Guerrero (R).

Incumbent Attorney General Rob Bonta (D), a Newsom appointee, leads Nathan Hochman (R).

Incumbent Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara (D) leads Robert Howell (R).

For U.S. Senate (both full and partial term): incumbent Sen. Alex Padilla (D), a Newsom appointee, is the projected winner over Mark Meuser (D).

California has 52 Congressional seats. Nine African American candidates are running for eight House seats.

To represent the 3rd Congressional District, which covers the Eastern Sierra from Death Valley National Park to parts of Sacramento and Placer counties, Democratic candidate Kermit Jones is trailing Republican Kevin Kiley. This district leans Republican.

To represent the 12th Congressional District that includes Oakland, Berkeley and part of San Leandro, incumbent Democrat Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) is projected to defeat Republican electrical engineer Stephen Slauson.

To represent the 25th Congressional District that covers Imperial County and parts of San Bernardino and Riverside counties including Calexico, Banning and the Salton Sea, incumbent Rep. Raul Ruiz (D) is leading Black Republican Pastor and San Jacinto City Council member Brian E. Hawkins.

To represent the 36th Congressional District that spans Beverly Hills and Santa Monica through coastal areas down to Rancho Palos Verdes in Los Angeles County, incumbent Rep. Ted Lieu (D) is projected to defeat Black Republican Navy Veteran and business owner Joe E. Collins III.

To represent the 37th Congressional District located in Los Angeles County including Culver City, Leimert Park, Crenshaw and South LA, Democratic California State Senator Sydney Kamlager is leading Black Democrat former L.A. City Councilmember Jan C. Perry. Rep. Karen Bass (D) currently represents this district.

To represent 39th Congressional District located in Riverside County including Moreno Valley and Perris, incumbent Rep. Mark Takano (D) is leading Black Republican Aja Smith, a civilian information technology specialist at March Air Reserve Base.

To represent the 43rd Congressional District that includes Compton, Inglewood, Gardena, parts of Torrance and Los Angeles International Airport, Democratic incumbent Rep. Maxine Waters is projected to defeat Republican business owner Omar Navarro.

There are 80 Assembly seats on the ballot. 12 Black candidates are running for 11 State Assembly seats. All of the Black candidates are Democrats and 10 are incumbents.

In addition to Jackson (mentioned earlier), the other Black candidates running for Assembly seats are:

Assembly District 6 (Sacramento) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Kevin McCarty is the vote leader over Republican retired airline pilot Cathy Cook.

Assembly District 11 (Vallejo) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Lori D. Wilson is the vote leader over Veterans Affairs consultant Jenny Leilani Callison.

Assembly District 18 (Oakland) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Mia Bonta is leading Republican Mindy Pechenuk.

Assembly District 41 (Pasadena) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Chris Holden is leading Republican Michael McMahon.

Assembly District 55 (Los Angeles) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Isaac G. Bryan is in the leading Republican software developer Keith Girolamo Cascio.

Assembly District 57 (Los Angeles) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer ran unopposed for reelection.

Assembly District 61 (Inglewood) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Tina Simone McKinnor is leading Democratic Mayor of Lawndale Robert Pullen-Miles, who is also Black.

Assembly District 65 (Compton) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Mike Anthony Gipson is leading Democratic public school teacher Fatima Iqbal-Zubair, who is also Black.

Assembly District 69 (Long Beach) – Democratic Councilmember/worker advocate Al Austin II is running behind Democratic Small Business owner Josh Lowenthal. No incumbent was on the ballot.

Assembly District 79 (La Mesa) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Akilah Weber is leading Republican Project Manager Corbin Sabol.

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