Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
Get the facts before you vote.
Brought to you by
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
California State Library@CAStateLibrary
November 6, 2018 — California General Election
Invest in unbiased information

With your support, we can reach and inform more voters.

Donate now to spread the word.

California State SenateCandidate for District 26

Photo of Ben Allen

Ben Allen

California State Senator
298,609 votes (77.2%)Winning
Use tab to activate the candidate button. Use "return" to select this candidate. You can access your list by navigating to 'My Choices'.
For more in-depth information on this candidate, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.
Candidate has provided information.
Thank candidate for sharing their information on Voter's Edge.

My Top 3 Priorities

  • Ensure all of California's students have access to a quality education
  • Preserving California's natural resources and public lands
  • Increasing transparency in elections and promoting campaign finance reform



Profession:State Senator
State Senator, California State Senate (2014–2018)
State Senator, 26th Senate District — Elected position (2014–2018)


Harvard, Oxford, Berkeley B.A., M.Phil, J.D. (current)


California State Senator Ben Allen was elected in 2014 to represent the 26th Senate District, covering the Westside, Hollywood and coastal South Bay communities of Los Angeles County.


Ben serves as chair of the Senate Education Committee and the legislature's Joint Committee on the Arts.  He is a member of the Senate Committees on Elections and Constitutional Amendments, Natural Resources and Water, and Transportation and Housing.  He is chair of the Environmental Caucus and vice-chair of the Jewish Caucus.


While serving as chair of the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee in 2015-16, he championed campaign reform and transparency issues.  He authored a new law that will increase voter turnout and civic engagement by transforming how elections are conducted.  This reform, which was praised by the Los Angeles Times editorial page, will allow people to vote in the 10 days preceding an election at conveniently-located vote centers.  He also authored the bill that placed an initiative on the statewide ballot urging Congress to overturn the Citizens United ruling, and a measure that allows cities and counties to use binding independent redistricting commissions.


As chair of the Joint Committee on the Arts, Ben authored successful legislation that reinstated teaching credentials for Theatre and Dance educators.  He is fighting for increased access to the arts in schools, especially in disadvantaged communities, and is working to keep entertainment industry jobs in California.


Ben coauthored the Senate’s historic climate change legislation, which requires 50% of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources, and doubles energy efficiency in buildings, by 2030.  He authored bills to expand the state’s efforts to combat climate change even further, including establishing the first standard to increase the use of renewable gas, and reducing toxic motor oil waste.  He lead the effort to end the use of harmful drift gillnets in commercial fishing off the coast that injure and kill endangered sea turtles and other marine life.


Ben grew up in the 26th District.  He is a former board member, and board President, of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, where he was a leader on issues of environmental sustainability, financial accountability, and community engagement. He helped pass a $385 million bond measure which upgraded district facilities using environmental best practices and created good local jobs.  During his tenure, the district enacted policies to provide all students with high-quality educational opportunities regardless of their background or means.  He helped start the Los Angeles Spark Program, a nonprofit organization that connects at-risk middle school students with apprenticeships.


While in law school, Ben served as a voting member of the University of California Board of Regents, and was a judicial clerk with the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.  As an attorney, he worked for the law firm of Richardson & Patel LLP, and previously was a litigator with Bryan Cave LLP.


Prior to his law career, Ben worked for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, and then as communications director for Congressman Jose Serrano (D-NY).  He is a senior fellow with the international human rights organization Humanity in Action, an Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellow, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a graduate of the Jewish Federation's New Leaders Project.  He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University, where he graduated magna cum laude in History; a Master of Philosophy degree from the University of Cambridge, and a Juris Doctor degree from UC Berkeley.  He is fluent in Spanish.


For three years prior to his election to the Senate, he was a lecturer at UCLA’s Law School, where he taught education law and policy.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $1,286,782

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

SEIU California
Employees of Pisces Inc
State Building & Construction Trades Council of California
Employees of Sutter Hill Ventures
Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters

More information about contributions

By State:

California 89.77%
District of Columbia 1.88%
Illinois 0.99%
Tennessee 0.86%
Other 6.49%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.63%)
Small contributions (0.37%)

By Type:

From organizations (47.89%)
From individuals (52.11%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Who else is running?

Please share this site to help others research their voting choices.