Your guide to California's Senate District 23 race: Santa Clarita Valley

  • Kipp Mueller, Democrat, civil rights attorney.

Mueller works for the law firm Brent & Fiol and his areas of practice include employment and labor. Mueller previously worked at the U.S. Department of Justice Consumer Protection Branch and the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office. Mueller grew up in California and lives in Santa Clarita. The California Democratic Party, major labor unions and politicians including Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis and Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta have endorsed his candidacy. “Our district has always been last in line. I’m running to finally secure the resources our community deserves,” Mueller said in a statement.

  • Suzette Valladares, Republican, nonprofit executive director.

Valladares is the executive director of the LAPD Devonshire Police Activity League Supporters, a nonprofit that teams up with law enforcement to offer activities for young people such as mentoring and tutoring. The Republican candidate previously served as an Assembly member from 2020 to 2022. Valladares has also worked for the Republican National Committee and former Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon. She lives in Acton, a small community in Los Angeles County. The San Bernardino County Republican Party, law-enforcement groups and politicians including Wilk and Assemblymember Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) have endorsed Valladares. “In the State Assembly, I was a problem solver and delivered on new protections for victims of crime, led the charge on lower costs on energy, and helping homeless families get needed shelter,” she said in a statement. “We can lower taxes & protect our communities.”

  • James “DJ” Hamburger, Republican, battalion staff officer in the Army National Guard.

Hamburger is also a high school French teacher, firefighter and a board member of the iLEAD Charter Schools District. A resident of Santa Clarita, Hamburger says he’s lived in the region his whole life. “Now I teach in our district and have witnessed our schools decline,” he said in a statement, adding that he’s concerned about crime and homelessness. “I am passionate about finding solutions to these problems.”

  • Ollie McCaulley, Democrat, business executive.

McCaulley is the chief executive and president of Gonzales-McCaulley Investment Group, which provides online training on contracting, risk management, appropriations law and other topics. He’s served as a police officer and in the United States Marine Corps. He has also worked as a minister. His campaign touted him as “a compassionate leader committed to fostering unity, trust, and equity within his community.”

  • Blanca Gomez, Democrat, Victorville City Council member.

Gomez also works as an American Sign Language interpreter for the deaf. During her time as a City Council member, Gomez faced allegations of unemployment fraud and was arrested in February on suspicion of disturbing a council meeting, according to reports from the Victorville Daily Press. She lives in the High Desert region in California and has three children.

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