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 Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA) (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA) (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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When Alex Padilla was last on the statewide California ballot, it was 2018, and he was running as a Democrat for re-election as secretary of state, successfully. His Republican opponent in that race was a former state Senate candidate, Mark Meuser.

In the meantime, Padilla was appointed to the vacant junior United States Senate seat from California created when former Sen. Kamala Harris became vice president, and has served for more than a year and a half in the Senate.

Related: Our full list of endorsements

Now Padilla is himself running to stay in that Senate seat, and although it’s an entirely different job — serving in the nation’s grand deliberative body, tarnished though its reputation has become in recent years — Mark Meuser is again running against Padilla.

And the pair will be on your Nov. 8 ballot not just once, but twice.

They are running both to fill out the unexpired term of Harris for a matter of months, and to fill the next six-year Senate term in the seat.

We recommended Padilla over Meuser four years ago in the secretary of state race, and we continue to endorse his candidacy for United States Senate.

As even those who follow politics far from Padilla’s San Fernando Valley base know, the senator has one of the classic life stories of California politics. Parents immigrated from Mexico. Grew up in Pacoima. Graduated San Fernando High, and then headed East, returning from MIT with a degree in mechanical engineering.

But instead of going into building stuff, Padilla got into politics out of outrage over anti-immigrant Proposition 187 in 1994. He ran legislative campaigns, he worked for his current Senate colleague Sen. Dianne Feinstein, was elected to the Los Angeles City Council at 26, and then served in the state Senate before becoming secretary of state.

As we said when he was running for re-election to that office, “Since his election, he has worked to modernize the state’s clunky Cal-Access database system, which provides information on campaign and lobbying finances. He has stepped up efforts to get more Californians to register to vote, including through a partnership with the Department of Motor Vehicles and allowing 16- and 17-year olds to preregister to vote online so they are on the rolls by the time they turn 18. Padilla has also championed making it easier to vote.”

In the United States Senate Padilla continues to champion voting rights.

As the first Latino chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety, his first bill, the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act, is aimed at creating a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who served as government-recognized “essential workers” in the dangerous early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Padilla remains hopeful that broader immigration reform and an end to federal marijuana prohibition are achievable goals. We hope he is right on both points.

Opponent Meuser, who received 15% of the primary vote statewide to get into the general election against Padilla, who received 54%, has an uphill race simply because of his party affiliation. There is no plausible path to victory for Meuser nor is there a persuasive case that Meuser would indeed be a better representative of California in the U.S. Senate than Padilla.

After too long with no Southern California representation in the United States Senate, Alex Padilla is a proud and passionate advocate for our region and the entire state. He very much deserves your vote to fill both the unexpired term and the next term in the Senate.

Sourcing & Methodology

To help you make decisions about the numerous candidates, measures, propositions and other races on your ballot, our editorial board (made up of opinion writers and editors), makes recommendations every election. The process is completely separate from newsroom reporting and journalists. With the exception of our executive editor, the members of our editorial board are not news reporters or editors. 

Sal Rodriguez, the opinion editor for the Southern California ɫ̳ Group’s 11 newspapers, heads the editorial board and guides our stances on public policy and political matters.  

Every week, our team analyzes legislation, monitors political developments, interviews elected officials or policy advocates and writes editorials on the issues of the day. Unsigned editorials reflect the consensus of our editorial board, with the aim of offering arguments that are empirically sound and intellectually consistent.

We apply this same process when considering to endorse candidates.

As a practical matter, we are selective in which races we endorse in. We endorse on all statewide ballot measures, competitive congressional races, select races for the state legislature and select countywide and city elections.

We identify credible candidates through surveys and interviews, deliberate based on our editorial precedent and in light of contemporary realities, and issue endorsements accordingly.

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