As we head to another night of primary elections, we are not just looking for races that will determine which party controls Congress or governs battlefield states. We are also analyzing individual candidates who are shaping the world of politics.
Tonight, at least three incumbent Republicans face the challenges of Trump-inspired candidates, though only one represents a secure Republican seat. And in Los Angeles, a mayoral candidate could rewrite what it means to be a Democrat in a liberal oasis.
Here are some key names to see how the votes are counted tonight. You can follow our live updates here and see the results here.
Representative Young Kim of California
Kim symbolizes everything the Republican establishment wanted to advance after its losses in the 2020 election, when Orange County voters sent her to Congress.
She was a Republican who advocated fiscal conservatism, not Trumpism. An American Korean immigrant, he appealed to the color voters of a district with a large population of Asia-America and Pacific islands.
And after the 2018 Democratic wave left Republicans in the House with only 13 women, she and at least 17 other Republican women elected to the House in 2020 hoped to change the narrative that her party is the standard of white men.
Keeping members like Kim in Congress is key to moderating the Republican goal of keeping Donald Trump’s party away, not to mention Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Louie Gohmert and Matt Gaetz.
That’s why the tough challenge Kim now faces on Trump-inspired candidate Greg Raths poses a problem not only in maintaining a district led by Joe Biden, but also in proving that the Republican Party is more larger than its white workers’ base. .
“If we want to encourage people from diverse backgrounds to come forward, when they are elected, we have to stand up for them,” said Matt Gorman, a Republican consultant and ally of Kim who was communications director on the National Committee of the Republican Congress in 2018. ., when it was first presented to Congress. “We can’t let them go alone. We have to be behind them.”
Gorman said Kim provided a template on how to attract Asian-American voters from an area in Orange County that has become difficult for Republicans. She has “a background that we need more in this game,” she said.
Kim and her allies in the Congressional Leadership Fund, an outside group related to California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, have spent more than $ 1.5 million on primaries. In the California Congress races, all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, run in the same primary ballot and the first two run in the general election. The only Democrat on the ballot, Asif Mahmood, is expected to take one of those seats.
The late spending of the Kim campaign and the Congressional Leadership Fund could be enough to keep it between the top two. His main Republican rival, Raths, told us last week that he had been running a “stealthy” campaign since early February and was confident in his chances until the avalanche of spending by Kim and his allies.
“Now,” Raths said, “I’m a little nervous.”
Representative David Valadao of California
Why do election analysts put a Central Valley seat in California that Biden occupied by 13 percentage points in the “tossup” category?
Because of Valadao, the Republican headline.
After losing his seat to a Democrat in 2018, Valadao won it in 2020. Now his concern is a fellow Republican: Chris Mathys, a businessman who said in an interview that he decided to run for Congress after Valadao vote to oust Trump.
Valadao’s allies in the Congressional Leadership Fund have spent $ 370,000 on primaries, according to AdImpact, which tracks advertising spending by both promoting and attacking Mathys. In an ad, the group calls Mathys “recklessly liberal.”
Valadao may be helped by the fact that while Mathys has sought Trump’s endorsement, he has not been able to secure it. Trump has backed the challengers of all House Republicans who voted to remove him and run for re-election, except Valadao.
Mathys was also unsuccessful in a lawsuit to change his ballot title to “Trump Conservative / Entrepreneur.” Instead, he appeared on the ballot as “Entrepreneur / Cattleman”.
Valadao’s allies are not the only ones trying to shape Republican primaries. Democrat counterpart from the Congressional Leadership Fund, House Majority PAC, which is affiliated with President Nancy Pelosi, is also joining.
Among the ads broadcast in support of the only Democrat in the race, Rudy Salas, and the cable ads included on Fox News, the Democrat-aligned group has spent more than $ 100,000.
The group has also bought digital ads that support Mathys, in an apparent effort to elevate Mathys to the top two instead of Valadao. “Chris Mathys supports Donald Trump and is a veteran,” the narrator says in an ad. “Valadao voted to oust Trump and against his border wall.” The ad below shows a segment of Sean Hannity of Fox News condemning Republicans who voted to oust Trump.
“Both sides know that Valadao has a unique ability to outdo a typical Republican,” said Nathan Gonzales, a longtime election analyst and editor of Inside Elections, a political bulletin. “I think that’s why we saw a burst of last-minute spending before the primaries.”
Mathys recently retweeted the House majority PAC announcement, presenting it, saying, “Sean Hannity is talking about the removal of President Trump.” When asked about the ad, he said he didn’t know the group or why he had bought the ad. “I have no idea what’s going on there,” he said.
Rick Caruso at a campaign event in the San Pedro neighborhood of Los Angeles last month. Credit … Allison Zaucha for The New York Times
Rick Caruso, one of the main candidates for mayor of Los Angeles
The election of Eric Adams as mayor of New York last fall was a clear signal that Democrats were moving away from calls to fund police. But in Los Angeles, another liberal bulwark, voters could take another step in the opposite direction.
Caruso, a billionaire real estate developer who until recently was a Republican, is likely to run in the general election alongside longtime Democrat Karen Bass and even has a chance to win the mayor’s race tonight if he catches more than 50. percent of the vote.
Caruso has focused his campaign on crime and homelessness, highlighting his opposition to the move to fund police departments in an ad that portrayed Los Angeles as a dangerous city, taking a look at tent camps. for homeless people and marking homicides and shootings. statistics.
As my colleagues Jennifer Medina and Jill Cowan recently wrote, a Caruso victory would be “a sudden change in this overwhelmingly liberal city, which Senator Bernie Sanders easily brought to the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.”
Representative Dusty Johnson of South Dakota
Johnson, the only member of the South Dakota House of Representatives, has often been overshadowed by prominent political figures in his state, such as Gov. Kristi Noem and Sen. John Thune, the Senate’s second Republican.
While Johnson has appeared happy out of the spotlight, he has quietly made some decisions that have upset Trump’s supporters, such as voting to certify the results of the 2020 election. Howard, a state and veteran Air Force representative.
A super PAC associated with the Republican Main Street Partnership began spending to support Johnson when the race got a little too close for convenience. The group conducted a poll about a month ago that showed Johnson was polling ahead of Howard, but hovering around the 50 percent mark, said Sarah Chamberlain, president of the group. Chamberlain said the attacks on Johnson in the campaign mail sent to voters had probably affected him.
“We’re not throwing red flags, but it definitely got a little soft,” Chamberlain said. “So we went in there to prop it up.” Now, he hopes Johnson will win his primaries. The group spent at least $ 120,000 and issued an ad calling Howard “liberal” and “anti-small business.” American Dream Federal Action, a PAC created by a cryptocurrency executive, also issued an ad in support of Johnson.
Before Johnson took the seat of General Congress, he was represented by Noah. Johnson created a slight political drama a decade ago when he resigned from the state’s Public Service Commission shortly after winning his second term in office in 2010 to serve as chief of staff to Governor Dennis. Daugaard.
Meanwhile, Drain the Swamp PAC, a group that supported Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, issued an ad attacking Johnson to attend Biden’s inauguration, vote to certify the 2020 election, and vote to form a House committee to to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
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