Also on the ballot this week is the potential ending Roe v. Wadeas well as a searchlight on weapons that follow more mass shootings. Abortion rights and gun safety have revived the democratic fervor of California and elsewhere, and many candidates are seizing the moment to position themselves as the moral choice for liberals. These issues can affect voters in several important house races and others around the country.
Here’s what we see across seven states with major primary elections and other elections Tuesday night:
Homeowners at risk
National Republicans have spent conspicuous sums on preventing GOP representatives. Young Kimin Orange County, and David Valadao, in the Central Valley, from being shut out of the parliamentary elections in two battlefield districts. A loss of both would be a disaster for Republicans.
Kim’s challenger, Greg Raths, is a pro-Donald Trump local councilor who was recently accused of making anti-Semitic comments. Valadao, one of the 10 Republicans who voted to put Trump in a state court trial, is trying to fight back a challenge, Chris Mathys, a businessman who ran for Congress in the final round of New Mexico. (House Majority PAC, the Democrats’ flagship congressional super PAC, has tried to boost Mathys on television.)
Biden won both of these districts in 2020 – by a margin of 13 points in Valadao’s seat. Democrats are targeting both districts and would much rather meet Raths and Mathys than the two established ones, who have large campaign accounts and known crossover appeal.
Another established to watch on Tuesday: Rep. Dusty Johnson, the two-term Republican who represents South Dakota’s overall district. He faces a challenge from the right by State Representative Taffy Howard, who says the established power has not supported Trump enough.
Johnson voted for the creation of a two-part commission on Jan. 6 and against stripping the Trump-critical Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) From his leadership position. Two super PACs spend big bucks in the race, one for Johnson and one for Howard.
In San Francisco, residents appear to be on the verge of dismissing their district attorney, Chesa Boudin, a leader of the National Criminal Justice Reform Movement. Boudin became a target for a campaign backed by deep-seated technology and real estate interests that have intervened in voters’ concerns about crime.
Concerns about rising rates of homicide, assault and property crime have put an unpleasant spotlight on California’s Democratic leaders, who in recent years have advocated policies that reduce sentencing and aim to plunge the population into overcrowded prisons.
The number of homicides in California increased by more than 500 nationwide by 2020 – the largest increase since the beginning of consistent crime registration in 1960, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Recent data shows a drop in killings and aggravated assaults since July 2021, but that has not reassured voters.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta, a Democrat and reformer of criminal justice, is also under pressure – but is unlikely to feel the heat before the fall general election.
It’s almost certain that Bonta will make it to the top-2 settlement, so the real battle tonight is which of his rivals will capture most of the conservative votes. Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, a former Republican who drives unconnected, has garnered widespread support among moderates for her record of prosecuting the perpetrators of some of Northern California’s most heinous crimes – including the infamous Golden State Killer.
But the road to the drain looks narrow for Schubert: a recent poll placed her in a distant fourth place behind Bonta and the two Republicans in the race. Nathan Hochman, former Assistant U.S. Attorney General, is GOP-approved. But Eric Early, a declared Trump supporter, votes over Hochman. The Republican has received a boost from a pro-Bonta PAC running radiospots to elevate Early as a “pro-Trump, pro-guns, pro-life” candidate.
Homelessness is at the center
The political discourse in Los Angeles has been dominated by debates on how to curb homelessness and fight crime, and the region’s overwhelmingly liberal voters will have the chance to show how far to the right they are willing to move in these issues. .
The Los Angeles mayoral race has taken the form of a showdown between the Democratic Rep. Karen Bassthe longtime congresswoman and social activist, and billionaire businessman Rick Caruso, a former Republican who threw himself into conflict after spending $ 40 million – most of it from his own fortune – on campaign ads. Both say that tens of thousands of people living on the streets daily indicate a city that is in a state of emergency, but they offer different views on how to solve this problem.
Caruso’s campaign has used a massive funding advantage to spread its message across TV and social media. His proposal to put 1,500 new officers on the streets and demand that people move out of camps and into shelters has hit some voters, but recent polls show he faces high odds of reaching the 50 percent threshold for to win the place directly – and is probably heading towards a drain with Bass.
Voters across Los Angeles County could also decide the race for the sheriff, another public safety-focused contest that has caught national attention. This campaign has proven to be less about politics and more about a referendum on incumbent Sheriff Alex Villanueva, whose rhetoric has taken a sharp shift to the right since he was elected as a progressive reformer in 2018.
Villanueva’s term of office has been marked by a series of scandals, including attacks on county supervisors and watchdog officials, along with a recent threat to investigate a Los Angeles Times reporter who wrote about a cover-up of an incident in which a deputy knelt on an action head. The question is not whether these incidents will prevent Villanueva from advancing to the final, but rather whether he will retain his place by winning re-election in the primary.
Battleground districts host face-offs in November
House races that could tip control of the House of Representatives in November are everywhere on Tuesday’s primary map.
In New Jersey, Tom Kean Jr. is seeking a revenge battle against the democratic rep. Tom Malinowski in one of the GOP’s best pick-up opportunities in 2022. They also have an inviting goal in Iowa, where Republicans will choose a nominee to meet the Democratic rep. Cindy Axne in the most competitive place in the state. The names to see are state senator Zach Nunn and businessman Nicole Hasso.
Democrats also seek to turn battlefields: In New Mexico, Democrats will choose a candidate to take on Rep. Yvette Herrell in a seat that became more favorable to those at omdistrict. The best candidate is Gabe Sanchez, a former Las Cruces city council member.
But the bulk of the action is in California.
First elected in 2020, GOP Rep. Michelle Steel in California’s 45th District will easily make it past primary night, but in November she could be vulnerable to a challenge from Democrat Jay Chen in a district that Biden won by 6 points two years ago. Rep. mike garcia will also learn the identity of his challenger in a tough Biden + 13 district, while Rep. Ken Calvert protects more GOP-friendly territory.
On the democratic side, the GOP seeks to target reps. Julia Brownley, Katie Porter, Mike Levin and Josh Harder.
And Republicans are also looking for the open seat that Democratic Congressman Adam Gray and 2020 candidate Phil Arballo are seeking.
A handful of awning races in other states
Republicans will also choose a nominee to host Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, a state Biden carried by 9 points in 2020. Trump won the state of Iowa by almost the same margin, but the GOP shift in the political environment since then means GOP- Governor Kim Reynolds and Senator. Chuck Grassley is on even safer ground now.
In Montana, former Trump-era Secretary of State Ryan Zinke is fighting for a comeback from Congress in the state’s newly-drawn, highly Republican House district. But he faces opposition from other Republicans and ethical issues in his past.
And in New Jersey, Sen. Robert Menendez‘s son – Rob Menendez Jr. seeks the open, highly democratic congressional seat currently held by the outgoing rep. Albio Sires.