California’s U.S. House races to have the most candidates per seat this year since at least 2018

The filing deadline for candidates running for state or federal office in California was March 11, 2022. This year, 265 candidates are running in California’s 52 U.S. House districts, including 126 Republicans, 112 Democrats, and 27 independent and third-party candidates. That’s 5.1 candidates per district, more than the 4.2 candidates per district in 2020 and 3.9 in 2018.

Here are some other highlights from this year’s filings:

  • This is the first election to take place under new district lines following the 2020 census, which resulted in California losing one U.S. House district.
  • Thirty-four members of California’s U.S. House delegation are running for re-election in a different district than the one they currently represent. Note that, though the district numbers are new for these incumbents, it is possible that the new district lines may bear similarities to the districts they currently represent.
  • Thirteen incumbents are running for re-election in the district they currently represent.
  • Five seats are open, meaning no incumbent is running. Open-seat elections are taking place in California’s 3rd, 13th, 15th, 37th, and 42nd districts.
  • Five incumbents are not running for re-election. Democratic Reps. Jerry McNerney, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Alan Lowenthal, and Jackie Speier are retiring. Rep. Karen Bass (D) is running for election for mayor of Los Angeles.
  • A special election is currently underway to fill resigned Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R) seat in California’s 22nd. The special general election is scheduled to take place the same day as California’s regular primary election. No candidates registered to run in the general election ran in the special election, meaning whoever is elected in the special election will only finish Nunes’ term and will not hold office in the 118th Congress.
  • All incumbents in California are facing primary challengers. 
  • In California’s top-two primary system, all candidates are listed on the same ballot regardless of party affiliation. Eleven incumbents, two Republicans and nine Democrats, are not facing intra-party primary challengers.
  • At this point, no districts are guaranteed to either party. Both Democratic and Republican candidates have filed to run in the primaries in all 52 districts. After the primaries take place, some districts may have two candidates of the same party running in the general under California’s top-two primary system.
  • The 30th district has nine candidates running, more than any other. Three Democrats, including incumbent Rep. Adam Schiff (D), four Republicans, one American Independent Party candidate, and one Green Party candidate have filed to run.

California’s U.S. House primaries are scheduled for June 7, 2022. California utilizes a top-two primary system. In a top-two primary system, all candidates are listed on the same ballot. The top two vote-getters, regardless of their partisan affiliations, advance to the general election.

Additional reading: