Most expensive ballot measures ever headline California’s November 2022 elections

Welcome to the Tuesday, September 6, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Most expensive ballot measures ever headline California’s November 2022 elections
  2. President Joe Biden’s approval rating rises to 42%, highest since May
  3. Jonathan Skrmetti starts term as Tennessee attorney general

Most expensive ballot measures ever headline California’s November 2022 elections

Our 50 states in 50 days continues with a look at elections in California, the Golden State. Long-time Brew readers will remember this from 2018 and 2020. In this series, we will preview what’s on the ballot in each state, which parties control state and congressional offices, and what you should know to cast your ballot. The next 45 Brew issues take us all the way up to the general election. So—buckle up!

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota

On the ballot in California

California voters will participate in both a general and special election for the U.S. Senate seat Vice President Kamala Harris (D) previously held. The special election will fill the seat through January 2023, when Harris’ term would have ended. The general election will be for a new term through January 2029. U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla (D), appointed in January 2021, is running in both elections.

Voters will also elect California’s 52 U.S. House members, the country’s largest state delegation.

Twelve state executive offices are on the ballot this year. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who won a recall election in 2021, is running for re-election. The other offices on the ballot are: lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, controller, superintendent of public instruction, insurance commissioner, and four seats on the state board of equalization.

All 80 seats in the California Assembly and 20 of the 40 seats in the California Senate are up for election. Twenty-seven incumbents (10 in the Senate and 17 in the Assembly) are not running for re-election.

Four of the seven justices on the California Supreme Court must stand for retention this year. Forty-one judges across the state’s six appellate court districts will also stand for retention.

For local offices, 98 school boards, 17 cities, and 11 counties that fall within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope are holding elections this year.

Click here for more information about the races on the ballot this year.

Redistricting highlights

California was apportioned 52 seats in the U.S. House after the 2020 census, one fewer than the 53 it was apportioned after the 2010 census.

Congressional and state legislative elections will take place under new district lines following the census. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to immediately see what redistricting looks like in your state. Here are the congressional maps in effect before and after redistricting in California: 

To use our tool to view California’s state legislative maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle, visit our California redistricting page

Partisan balance

  • Both of California’s U.S. Senators—Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla—are Democrats.
  • California’s U.S. House delegation consists of 42 Democrats and 11 Republicans.
  • Democrats hold a 31-9 majority in the state Senate and a 60-19 (with one independent) majority in the state Assembly. Because the governor is a Democrat, California is one of 14 Democratic trifectas. It has held this status since 1995.
  • California has had a Democratic governor since 2011. Its last Republican governor was Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • Along with the governor, the secretary of state and attorney general are also Democrats, making the state one of 18 with a Democratic triplex among those offices.

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, 26 state legislative seats in California, or 26% of all seats up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either the Democratic or Republican parties runs for a state legislative seat, that party is all but guaranteed to win the seat.

Democrats are running in 94% of all state legislative races. Six state legislative districts do not have a Democratic candidate and are likely to elect a Republican.

Republicans are running in 80% of all state legislative races. Twenty districts do not have a Republican candidate and are likely to elect a Democrat.

Key races

  • Los Angeles Mayor: Karen Bass and Rick Caruso are running in the nonpartisan general election. In the top-two primary, Caruso received 43.1% of the vote and Bass received 36.0%. Caruso is a retail development executive and served on the USC Board of Trustees. Bass represents California’s 37th Congressional District in the U.S. House. Mayor Eric Garcetti is term-limited.
  • U.S. House, California District 13: Adam Gray (D) and John Duarte (R) are running in the general election. In the top-two primary, Duarte received 34.1% of the vote and Gray received 30.7%. Barbara Lee (D) represents the current 13th District, which includes Oakland and Berkeley. The new 13th District covers portions of the state’s Central Valley north and west of Fresno.
  • U.S. House, California District 22: Rep. David Valadao (R) and Rudy Salas (D) are running in the general election. In the top-two primary, Salas received 45.4% of the vote and Valadao received 25.6%. A third candidate, Chris Mathys (R), received 23.1% in the primary. Valadao currently represents the 21st District.
  • U.S. House, California District 27: Rep. Mike Garcia (R) and Christy Smith (D) are running in the general election. In the top-two primary, Garcia received 49.6% of the vote and Smith received 35.4%. Smith lost to Garcia in a 2020 special election by 17,000 votes and lost the 2020 general election by 333 votes.

Ballot measures

There are seven measures on the ballot this year, including:

  • Proposition 1: Would provide a state constitutional right to reproductive freedom, including the right to an abortion. The Legislature proposed this amendment in response to the leaked draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
  • Propositions 26 and 27: Both deal with legalizing sports betting. Proposition 26 would legalize sports betting at American Indian gaming casinos and licensed racetracks, while Proposition 27 would legalize mobile sports betting. These measures have already raised the most money in statewide ballot measure history. Campaigns for and against Proposition 27 have raised a combined $214 million so far, while campaigns for and against Proposition 26 have raised a combined $115 million.
  • Proposition 30: Would increase the tax on personal income above $2 million by another 1.75% from the current 13.3% rate and allocate the revenue to the Clean Cars and Clean Air Trust Fund. Proponents include the California Democratic Party, Lyft, and 2020 presidential candidate Tom Steyer (D). Opponents include Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), the Republican Party of California, and the California Teachers Association.

Between 1985 and 2020, California voters decided 395 statewide ballot measures. Voters approved 228 (57.7%) ballot measures and rejected 167 (42.3%). 


  • Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time.
  • California generally does not require identification to vote. To read about the specific case where voter identification may be required, click here.
  • Early voting sites open on Oct. 10 and close on Nov. 7.
  • The voter registration deadline is Oct. 24. Registration can be completed in person, by mail, or online, with mailed forms received by the deadline.
  • California provides for universal, automatic mail-in voting in all elections. Voters may choose to cast their ballots in person. Mail ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 8. To check the status of your ballot, click here.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool!

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President Joe Biden’s approval rating rises to 42%, highest since May

Polling averages at the end of August showed President Joe Biden (D) at 42% approval, the highest rating he’s received since May. Fifty-four percent of voters disapprove of his performance.

Biden last had a 42% approval rating on May 19, 2022. The lowest approval rating he’s received is 38%, last reached on July 27, 2022. Biden’s highest approval rating was 55% on May 26, 2021.

Congress was at 21% approval and 56% disapproval at the end of August. The highest approval rating Congress has received during President Biden’s term was 36% on July 16, 2021, and its lowest rating was 14% on Jan. 26, 2022.

As of the end of August, 26% of voters said the country was headed in the right direction. The highest proportion of voters who felt this way during Biden’s term was 44% on March 31, 2021, and the lowest was 18% on July 11, 2022.

At the same time in 2018, the same point during his first term, President Donald Trump’s (R) approval was one percentage point higher at 43%, and congressional approval was three points lower at 19%.The percentage of voters who felt the country was headed in the right direction was 11 percentage points higher at 37%.

Ballotpedia’s polling index takes the average of polls conducted over the last 30 days to calculate presidential and congressional approval ratings. We average the results and show all polling results side-by-side because we believe that paints a clearer picture of public opinion than any individual poll can provide. The data is updated daily as new polling results are published.

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Jonathan Skrmetti starts term as Tennessee attorney general

Jonathan Skrmetti’s (R) term as Tennessee attorney general began Sept. 1. The Tennessee Supreme Court appointed Skrmetti to the position on Aug. 10 to replace Herbert H. Slatery (R). Slatery chose not to seek reappointment after his eight-year term expired.

Tennessee is unique in that the state supreme court, rather than the governor, appoints the attorney general. Forty-three states elect the attorney general. In five more, the governor appoints the attorney general. In Maine, the state legislature appoints the attorney general.

Before this appointment, Skrmetti served as Gov. Bill Lee’s (R) chief legal counsel. From 2018 to 2021, he was the chief deputy to the attorney general. Skrmetti graduated from Harvard Law School.  

Tennessee is one of 23 states with a Republican triplex. A state government triplex occurs when the governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are all members of the same party.

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