Andrae Gonzales, Bakersfield councilman, launches challenge to Bains for Assembly

After ruffling feathers with Democratic Party leadership, a Bakersfield lawmaker will face a big challenge in 2024.

Bakersfield City Councilman Andrae Gonzales has his eyes set on a bigger office, challenging a recently-elected incumbent. 

Gonzales announced Wednesday that he is running for the 35th Assembly District, which is represented by Asm. Jasmeet Bains (D–Bakersfield). 


The backstory: Gonzales, the first Latino to serve as Bakersfield’s vice mayor, has represented downtown Bakersfield on the city council since he was first elected in 2016. 

  • Before joining the dais at Bakersfield City Hall, Gonzales served as a trustee on the Bakersfield City School District Board of Education from 2010-2016. 

Driving the news: Gonzales faces an uphill battle in his attempt to oust the newly-elected Bains from her seat. 

  • Bains soundly defeated Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez by 21 points last November in the intra-Democratic Party fight, with heavy backing from the California Medical Association.
  • In March, Bains showed that she will not side with her fellow Democrats on every issue as she joined Republicans in a failed attempt to oppose California’s gas tax. 
    • That caught the attention of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration, who went after Bains on Twitter following the vote. 
      • Democratic leadership also turned on Bains as Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon stripped her assignment on the Assembly Business and Professions Committee.
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