By Marissa Soto
Former Assemblywoman and Republican Suzette Martinez-Valladares announced on Feb. 22 that she would be running for California’s 23 State Senate district in the 2024 election, just months after visiting The Master’s University (TMU) during her previous campaign.
“We certainly have our challenges, but our families and communities – those are worth fighting for,” Valladares said in a social media post announcing her candidacy.
Valladares ran for State Assembly reelection in 2022 after serving two years in California’s District 38. She competed to represent a newly redrawn District 40, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley. However, since the redrawing of district lines, Valladares’ race set for the redrawn district was a contrast from the one she was initially voted in by. In this race, Democrats had a 13 point advantage. With her visit to TMU, she hoped that conservative students would help her regain what she had lost with the redrawing.
Valladares won her first election with 76 percent of the popular vote back in 2020, turning her district from blue to red. June 2022 the former assemblywoman led the polls with 47.4 percent of the vote over Democrats Pilar Schiavo and Annie Cho. The assemblywoman led in the early and middle stages of the counting process, but as mail in ballots began being counted, the results started to swing in favor of Schiavo. With more than two weeks to count the remaining ballots, the race ended with the incumbent releasing a statement via Facebook and Instagram November 29. Unfortunately for Valladares, this race was a much closer one than in 2020.
“I am extremely honored by the confidence of so many Republican, Democratic and Independent voters. Ours is a great electoral system. However, there are not enough remaining votes for me to close the gap, and so I must concede this election,” read the statement.
The final count of votes ended up being nearly 500 ballots separating Valladares from her challenger.
In her new endeavor, Valladares already has the support of Republicans in the State Senate such as State Senator Scott Wilk, State Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones and State Senator Brian Dahle. As for local leaders, the candidate has the endorsements of politicians like Santa Clarita Mayor Jason Gibbs, former Congressman Steve Knight and three councilmembers of the City of Santa Clarita.
California’s state primary takes place March 5, 2024. The general election is set for Nov. 5, 2024. TMU students can vote in the election in 2024, even if they are only residing in California for school. Students must register to be a California voter, however they cannot be registered in both their home state and school state.
“It’s a fight for California’s future, and we will never back down,” Valladares said.