Alex Padilla becomes California’s first elected Latino senator


William Franco Espinosa

“I Voted” stickers are given out to those who vote in the 2022 California general election inside the Premier America Credit Union Arena at CSUN on Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, in Northridge, Calif. Nov. 8 marks the 2022 California general election that includes federal, statewide and judicial candidates, as well as ballot propositions, local candidates and measures.

Marissa Roberts, Assistant News Editor

Democratic incumbent Sen. Alex Padilla will be California’s first elected Latino senator, beating Republican opponent Mark P. Meuser, according to The Associated Press.

Padilla was first appointed to the U.S. Senate by California Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2021, when then-Sen. Kamala Harris left the position to become vice president.

Tuesday’s election saw Padilla win two races — one to finish out the last two months of his current term and the other to serve a new six-year term — which is why his name appeared on California ballots twice.

The race was called on election night, with Padilla receiving 62% of the 4.6 million votes counted and Meuser receiving 38%, according to the AP.

Padilla was born and raised in Pacoima to parents who immigrated from Mexico. A rise in anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies in his home state inspired him to run for public office, according to his official government website. Padilla started his political career at the age of 26 when he was elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 1999. He has been elected to multiple political positions, including state senator and California’s secretary of state.

At a rally held on election night at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, Padilla vowed to fight for immigration reform, reproductive rights, climate change, and protecting Social Security and Medicare.

Padilla’s win was a victory for the Democratic Party as they fight to maintain control of the U.S. Senate.

“We have a hell of a fight ahead of us,” Padilla told his supporters after the victory. “And I’m heading back to the Senate ready to help lead that fight.”

Arizona and Nevada have Senate races that are too close to call, according to the AP, while Georgia is officially headed for a runoff election on Dec. 6. The party that wins two out of the three remaining seats will control the Senate for the next two years.