State Senate, District 3

State Senate, District 3

Top two candidates advance to general election.

Thom Bogue (R)27.8%
61,776 votes
Christopher Cabaldon (D)26.5%
59,041 votes
Rozzana Verder-Aliga (D)20.4%
45,546 votes

Race called at 6:24 PM PT on March 14, 2024
100% of votes countedAssociated Press
This percentage is an Associated Press estimate of how much of the vote in an election has been counted. It is informed by turnout in recent elections, details on votes cast in advance and – after polls close – early returns. The estimate may fluctuate as election officials report additional results and AP learns more about how many voters have cast a ballot.

Why does this race matter? 

The district stretches from Sonoma and Napa wine country, through cities like Vallejo and Concord, to the farmland of Yolo County and the Delta. Whoever succeeds termed-out state Sen. Bill Dodd will face challenges around wildfire, water, housing — and a plan by tech billionaires for a brand new city in Solano County.

What does a state senator do?

State senators represent communities at the California Legislature in Sacramento. The 40 members of the state Senate write and vote on state bills, serve on policy committees and vote on the annual state budget. The top two finishers in this primary election, regardless of party, will face off in the November election. The winner will serve a four-year term.

Key Candidates

This list represents the most notable candidates running for the seat.
Thom Bogue
Thom BogueCity Council Member, DixonRepublican
Christopher Cabaldon
Christopher CabaldonFormer Mayor, West SacramentoDemocrat
Jackie Elward
Jackie Elward City Council Member, Rohnert ParkDemocrat
Rozzana Verder-Aliga
Rozzana Verder-AligaCity Council Member, VallejoDemocrat

Key Supporters

This list represents notable organizations and individuals who have taken a position on the ballot measure or candidate, or who are funding campaigns in support or opposition. This list is not exhaustive, and may be updated.

For Bogue

  • N/A

For Cabaldon

  • Darrell Steinberg, mayor, Sacramento
  • Lois Wolk, former state senator
  • California Asian American & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus
  • Planned Parenthood Northern California Action Fund
  • Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce PAC

For Elward

  • Jared Huffman, U.S. representative
  • Eleni Kounalakis, lieutenant governor, California 
  • California Federation of Teachers
  • California Labor Federation
  • California Legislative Black Caucus

For Verder-Aliga

  • Bill Dodd, state senator
  • John Garamendi, U.S. representative
  • API Legislative Caucus
  • California Labor Federation
  • Napa-Solano Central Labor Council

Positions on Key Issues
Candidate summaries are based on interviews with the candidates, questionnaires, statements made at debates and public events, and past news coverage.

A group of billionaires aims to build a city on 60,000 acres of Solano County farmland. Should they get an exception to the voter-approved policy favoring city-centered growth and farmland protection?

Bogue says an exception should not be made for the California Forever developers. He says California agricultural land is some of the best in the nation, and helps power the state’s economy. “Urban sprawl is already consuming many, many acres of some of our best growing agricultural land,” says Bogue. “We really need to rethink just how we expand — to slow, if not eliminate, urban sprawl.”
Cabaldon recently testified before the state Senate about the risks this development poses. He says freeways are already clogged, water is too scarce, and infrastructure funds for other cities are at stake. But Cabaldon says, “We can build affordable housing and protect working landscapes at the same time. I know because I’ve done it.”
Elward calls the project an “existential threat” to other communities, which will have to compete for resources. And she’s uncomfortable with “the secretive nature” of the land acquisition. “If billionaires want to invest in Solano County, I wish they’d invest in the revitalization of our existing communities,” she says. “We have downtowns that … need all the support they can get [and] there is so much potential in the proud communities that already exist.”
Verder-Aliga says she’s worried the development has so far been planned without input from local residents, who’ll have to live with the result — which will occupy more than one-tenth of the county’s acreage. “It feels a bit unfair and definitely undemocratic,” she says, and thinks an up-or-down vote doesn’t give voters enough say. “I would prefer that growth occur under the publicly debated and formulated plans our local governments have gone through the process of creating.”

In recent years massive wildfires have ravaged the district. What should the state Senate be doing to prevent such destruction and how would you ensure the insurance market continues to serve residents in fire-prone areas?

Bogue says the state is already clearing underbrush using livestock and fire crews. “It will take time for these efforts to become effective,” he says. As to insurance companies: “They collect billions of dollars annually in premiums and when something catastrophically occurs, also like PG&E, the first thing they do is look for ways out to not pay.” Bogue says he will research the best way for lawmakers to hold companies accountable.
Cabaldon supports voter-approved policies like Napa’s agricultural preserve and Solano’s orderly growth ordinance to deter future housing in the fire-prone wildlands interface. He would protect CalFire funding. And he says, “Too many families can’t get or renew home insurance policies because outdated regulations haven’t been updated to account for the disastrous impact of climate change.” With most Californians living with wildfire, flood or earthquake risk, he says, he’ll fight to fix the insurance market.
Elward says fire mitigation is a top priority. She supports managing forests to remove combustible undergrowth and establishing firmer urban limit lines to prevent sprawl into high-risk areas. With the cost of covering catastrophic fire damage mounting, and private insurers leaving the market, she says, “state government is going to have to get more intensely involved.” Elward would work to make the FAIR Plan insurance pool more affordable and available.
Verder-Aliga says she would continue the work of Sen. Bill Dodd, advocating for regulating utilities to ensure they don’t spark fires, and investing in fire breaks and other defenses to keep neighborhoods safe. She says she wants to see property insurance reforms that include “a reconfiguring of this market that protects homeowners, keeps premium increases to a minimum, and strengthens the marketplace to keep insurers writing policies in California.”

In an era of climate change, how would you protect agriculture and the natural environment of the district? What’s your position on the Delta tunnel?

Bogue says it’s tough to balance the needs of Delta farmers and the demand for water from growers in other parts of the state. “I can see both sides of the equation,” he says. He believes conservation measures could help with water supply. And he adds, “Instead of destroying dams we should be developing more water-retention facilities and desalination projects, along with expanding distribution canals to rural farmers from what we currently have.”
Cabaldon served as Delta Protection Commissioner and a governor’s appointee on the state water board, so “I know how fragile the ecosystem, agricultural economy, and hydrology of the Delta can be.” He opposes the Delta tunnel, which would divert water to southern California, because it will endanger fish, area water supplies and Delta agriculture. “Family farmers cultivate not only the food we eat but also our natural environment,” he says.
Elward says agriculture is core to the district’s economy and must be shielded from suburban sprawl. She says she helped lead the campaign to pass Rohnert Park’s Measure B, establishing an urban limit and protecting open space and agriculture. She also opposes the Delta tunnel and the proposed Sites Reservoir in Colusa County. “[I] see most new surface water storage as at best a Band-Aid to our state’s long-term water needs,” she says.
Verder-Aliga says she will advocate for greater investment in the California agriculture department’s State Water Efficiency & Enhancement Program and Healthy Soils Program. She also wants to improve water storage, efficiency, and reuse. If elected, she says, “I will work to improve water storage and advance partnerships for groundwater recharge with farmers.” She believes killing the Delta Tunnel plan is the best thing for the environment in the region, while protecting agriculture.

Recent high-profile retail thefts have led some to call for repeal of Proposition 47, which reduced sentences for some nonviolent offenses. Do you support that? And, with Vallejo’s police department under state oversight for bias and excessive use of force, how would you ensure police accountability?

Bogue says he’s opposed Prop. 47 since it was written, and believes it has contributed to rampant crime. He supports repealing it. As to police oversight, he says the state has a role in protecting citizens’ constitutional rights. “I believe most officers pursued a career in law enforcement with an honest belief they could make a difference … and safeguard our communities,” he says. But, he believes, officers who violate the law need to be held accountable.
Cabaldon says Vallejo is a “textbook example” of why the state must ensure accountability when a city council can’t. “Too many residents live in fear, and the police department can’t recruit the officers the community deserves,” he says, adding that police also need tools to equitably keep communities safe. Prop. 47 shouldn’t be repealed; it helped address severe overcrowding in state prisons, Cabaldon says. But he does favor serious consequences for organized, repeated smash-and-grab robberies.
Elward says voters are understandably concerned about public safety, but a recent uptick in crime is about pandemic pressures, not Prop. 47. And, she emphasized, crime has decreased overall since the mid-1990s. She would invest in regional task forces to crack down on theft rings, early youth intervention and civilian mental health crisis response. Elward supports the oversight in Vallejo; as an immigrant Black woman, she says police misconduct and racism hit close to home.
Verder-Aliga believes that while some criminal justice reforms have paid off, Verder-Aliga says Prop. 47 has not, leaving residents feeling unsafe: “We must remedy the situation.” As a member of the Vallejo City Council, she says she is working with state officials on reforms, including a police oversight commission, de-escalation training, and body cameras. “The quality and training of the people we hire is the most important factor for upgrading our force,” she adds.

Housing affordability is a crisis across the Bay Area and beyond, and homelessness remains intractable. What is your plan to increase housing and expand affordability for renters and would-be homeowners?

Bogue says even though Gov. Newsom recently approved 56 bills to streamline housing construction, protect tenants and tackle homelessness — and has invested $30 billion toward developing affordable housing — he has yet to see results. “We see little actual action,” he says. “My plan is to hold legislators accountable for all this approval and push for action, not just talk — something we have grown accustomed to, particularly during election years.”
Cabaldon says residents of the district are getting squeezed out by sky-high rents and home prices. He says he worked to avoid displacement in West Sacramento by producing record amounts of workforce housing, something he calls urgent — and possible. “Like I’ve done locally, in the Senate I’ll meet the crisis by fixing antiquated zoning laws, expanding transit, modernizing financing tools, streamlining construction, and deploying more diverse housing models,” he says.
Elward says the best solution to homelessness is prevention: tenant advocacy to keep people in their homes. She favors “Housing First” policies, which help the unhoused get supportive, permanent housing, and applauds Gov. Newsom’s Homekey project — converting existing buildings to housing. To build affordable housing, she would use bonds, income taxes on high earners, inclusionary zoning, housing trust funds, community land trusts, social housing, accessory dwelling units and zoning reform.
Verder-Aliga says housing is the number one issue in California because it has so many impacts. Unaffordability affects where we can live and prevents young people from building wealth and becoming upwardly mobile. “I think California as a whole needs a renaissance of building and growth in its urban cores, where we can build communities that fuse housing, transportation, and amenities into a livable, more affordable, more environmentally practical mode.”

Additional Candidates

Jimih Jones
Jimih JonesAutomotive Parts Advisor Republican. Jones previously ran for Congress in this area in 2022, finishing sixth out of seven candidates.

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