Middleton says she remains interested in California State Senate, despite redistricting move that shifts election to 2024

Palm Springs Mayor Lisa Middleton said Wednesday she remains committed to seeking higher office even though a general election in the state Senate district she will run in won’t be held until 2024.

In October, Middleton, a Democrat, announced her campaign for the California State Senate, aiming to replace outgoing Republican Melissa Melendez — who cannot run again due to term limits — in a 2022 election. As it stands now, the 28th District Melendez represents includes the entire Coachella Valley and an area from Lake Elsinore to Temecula. However, final maps adopted by a state redistricting commission Monday create a new, geographically larger state Senate district — District 19 — that does not contain Indio and Coachella but does include a large portion of the state’s High Desert.

The formation of District 19 also creates a unique situation for voters who cast ballots every four years for state senators. District 28 last held a general election in 2018, so it was due for one again in 2022. But since voters in the majority of the new district last voted in a general election in 2020, a race for state Senate won’t take place until 2024.

Middleton remains confident she can claim a seat in District 19 when that general election occurs. But for now, she said, her focus will be elsewhere.

“While I am disappointed in the independent redistricting commission’s decision to defer the will of the people of the Coachella Valley in selecting their State Senator until 2024,” Middleton said Wednesday in a prepared statement, “I remain excited to focus on my duties as Palm Springs’ mayor, and finishing my full term on the City Council.”

Since announcing her candidacy for higher office, Middleton has been picking up endorsements from multiple powerful Democrats and the party’s aligned organizations. Campaign funds followed. She said Wednesday that early momentum for her campaign is a strong signal she will be able to pick up where she left off as the race for District 19 heats up in 2023.

“Over the past three months since I launched my campaign for State Senate, we’ve raised over six figures and amassed over two dozen endorsements from esteemed advocacy organizations, prominent statewide officials, and pioneering local leaders,” she said.

For now, she added, “I am looking forward to spending some time in the coming months to rest and reflect with my family.”

Former Palm Springs mayor and current Councilmember Christy Holstege, who announced she was running for California State Assembly earlier this year, has not indicated any change of plans due to redistricting. Final maps show Palm Springs will be part of the newly-crafted Assembly District 47, which will now include Cathedral City and Desert Hot Springs, and will have a general election in 2022.

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