The California State Senate’s 4th District is a reminder of outcomes the state’s style of elections can yield.
During the primary in this district, 60 percent of voters opted for a Republican candidate. But because there were no fewer than six Republicans on the ballot to split the vote, including former Rep. George Radanovich, the top two finishers in the primary wound up being Democrats Tim Robertson, who drew 22.7 percent of the vote, and Marie Alvarado-Gil, who drew 18.7 percent.
With California using a top-two finisher system, regardless of party affiliation, to decide who advances to general elections, this meant that Robertson and Alvarado-Gil faced off in November 2022. Alvarado-Gil, a school administrator who doesn’t appear to have previously held elected office, prevailed, with 52.6 percent of the vote.
The elections featured at least one unorthodox gambit. Robertson, whom the Modesto Bee listed as executive director of the North Valley Labor Federation, had been endorsed by the Democratic Party, according to the Bee. During the primary, State Senate Minority Leader Scott Wilk spent $50,000 on a mailer that described Robertson as the only “Democratic choice” and having a progressive agenda, according to CalMatters.
Alvarado-Gil, while a Democrat, positioned herself as an independent in her State Senate race, according to the Modesto Bee.
The biography page on Alvarado-Gil’s State Senate website notes that she is a native California and the daughter of immigrants who worked in the service sector. Her LinkedIn profile shows that prior to attending University of California, Davis, where she studied animal sciences from 1993-96, she spent three years studying at a school in Guadalajara.
After working several years in social-related work in the Bay Area, Alvarado-Gil returned to college in the late 2000s, earning a bachelor’s degree in public administration with emphasis in non-profit from University of San Francisco in 2009 and a master’s from the same school in public administration with emphasis in health services administration in 2011.
She has worked since then as a labor organizer for the SEIU and in education.
A mother of three, Alvarado-Gil lives in Jackson, is married to husband Cesar, and has three biological children, three stepchildren, and one grandchild as of this writing in February 2023.
The page on Alvarado-Gil’s State Senate website that would list her committee assignments hasn’t been updated as of this writing. The Ledger Dispatch reported in January 2023 that Alvarado-Gil had received the following assignments:
Human Services (chair)
SB 226: One of three bills that Alvarado-Gil has sponsored thus far, this one would make it illegal for people armed with loaded and operable firearms to possess fentanyl.
District Boundaries and Office Locations
Alvarado-Gil’s district includes more than a million people and the counties of Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Inyo, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne.