What to Watch in the 7 State Primary Elections

LOS ANGELES – Primaries in seven states on Tuesday will set the stage for that US House of Representatives and Senate races this fall, with many contests marred by political rifts in both major parties and the lingering shadow of former President Donald Trump.

In the face of control of Congress, a number of Republican House incumbents are grappling with challenges from the political right, and some rivals are embracing Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in his 2020 loss to President Joe Biden.

No incumbent governor or senator appears to be in immediate danger. In Iowa, several Democrats are vying for a chance to run seven-year-old Republican Senator Chuck Grassleywith the campaign showcasing the rift between the progressive and mainstream wings of the Democratic Party.


Former Trump cabinet member Ryan Zinke seeks the GOP nomination in a newly created home district in Montana.

What to watch in Tuesday’s primary elections in California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota:


California is a Democratic fortress, where the party holds every state office and outnumbers registered Republicans by nearly 2 to 1. Governor Gavin Newsom and US Senator Alex Padilla face little-known contenders.

But Republicans retain their strengths in some areas of the US House of Representatives that are expected to be among those most competitive races in the country.


In a heavily democratic district in the state’s Central Valley Farm Belt Republican US Rep. David Valadao sees setback for his vote to impeach Trump about the January 6 riot in the US Capitol. Republican Chris Mathys has made voting Valadao a centerpiece of his campaign to oust him.

In a Democratic neighborhood north of Los Angeles, several Democrats are hoping for a takeover Republican Rep. Mike Garcia, who is expected to advance through November with one of the Democrats as the top two finishers in the race. Garcia rejected electoral votes cast for Biden from Arizona and Pennsylvania and opposed Trump’s impeachment after the Capitol riot.


That crowded Los Angeles Mayor’s race is evolving into a battle between Rick Caruso, a pro-business billionaire Republican-turned-Democrat who sits on the board of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, and Democratic US Rep. Karen Bass, who was on Biden’s shortlist for vice president. If no candidate gets 50%, the top two finishers go to a runoff in November.

In another closely watched election, voters are in San Francisco contemplating calling District Attorney Chesa Boudin backa progressive Democrat who critics say has failed to prosecute repeat offenders amid widespread frustration over crime and homelessness.



Republicans have gained an advantage in the state over the past decade, and the Democratic Senate primary provides a snapshot of the minority party’s struggle for relevance.

Retired Navy Vice Admiral Michael Franken introduces competitive competition With former US Rep. Abby Finkenauer in a bid to take on 88-year-old Grassley, who was backed by Trump.

Finkenauer is a 33-year-old two-term former state representative who argues that her youth and recent experiences in Iowa make her better suited to challenge a Republican first elected to the Senate in 1980. She has made term limits a core part of her campaign.


Franken, 64, is promoting a progressive agenda including adding a public insurance option to the Affordable Care Act. A native of conservative western Iowa, he argues that he could be more competitive with Grassley by slipping into the senator fringe in heavily Republican areas.

Physician Glenn Hurst, a councilman in a small western Iowa town and chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party for its rural faction, is running to the left of Finkenauer and Franken.

Meanwhile, three Republicans are competing for a chance to run against Iowa’s only Democratic congresswoman, Rep. Cindy Axne.


US Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo faces his biggest field of challengers ever after a congressional ethics watchdog raised questions about his campaign spending.

A Office of Congressional Ethics 2021 Report found “substantial reason to believe” that Palazzo, a military veteran who serves on the Appropriations and Homeland Security committees, abused office by squandering campaign funds, doing favors for his brother, and hiring on political and personal errands. His spokeswoman at the time, Colleen Kennedy, said the investigation was based on politically motivated “false allegations.”


His six opponents include a sheriff, Mike Ezelland a state senator Brice Wiggins. If no candidate achieves the majority of the votes, a run-off election will take place on June 28th.

Mississippi’s other two Republican congressmen, Trent Kelly and Michael Guest, face key challengers supporting Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.


It’s the first time since 1993 that the state has had two seats in the House of Representatives, after one was added to accommodate Montana’s growing population.

Prong, Trump’s former Secretary of the InteriorTechnically, he’s in an open race for the new seat. But the former Navy SEAL is widely regarded as the de facto incumbent, having twice won elections for the state’s other seat in the House of Representatives before stepping down in 2017 to take the seat to join the Trump administration.


His opponents draw attention to Zinke’s troubled tenure, which was marked by several ethics investigations. An investigation found that Zinke lied to an agency ethics officer about his continued involvement in a commercial real estate deal in his hometown. He faced a smear campaign from his party’s far-right wing about his military service and questions about his residency after it was revealed his wife had made a house in California her primary residence.

Among his opponents in the GOP primary is former state senator Al “Doc” Olszewski, an orthopedist and hard-line conservative who has done so tries to portray Zinke as a “liberal insider”.


Three Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination: public health attorney Cora Neumann, Olympic rower and attorney Monica Tranel, and former Rep. Tom Winter.

In the state’s other district, first-term Congressman Matt Rosendale, who is supported by Trump, will seek to fend off three key Republican challengers.


A dozen house districts are on the ballot.

Trump said he would back a challenger to longtime Republican Rep. Chris Smith in 2021, but that never happened. The lack of confirmation hasn’t stopped conservative talk show host Mike Crispi, one of Smith’s Republican challengers, from claiming Trump’s mantle.

In northern New Jersey, Tom Kean Jr., a former minority leader in the state Senate, has an advantage over five rivals in raising funds and establishment support. Kean, the son of former Republican Gov. Tom Kean Sr., is hoping for a rematch with Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski, who won a close competition two years ago.


On the Democrat side, US Senator Bob Menendez’s son Rob is running for a seat vacated by retiring Democratic Rep. Albio Sires. Menendez, a commissioner with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, barred the party’s support for entering the race.


Five Republican candidates compete to take on the Democrats Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. The incumbent is preferred to keep her job in a state where Democrats control every statewide office and dominate the legislature.

Former television meteorologist Markus Ronchetti and State Rep. Rebecca Dow are prominent GOP contenders in a competition that touches on concerns about U.S. border security, urban crime, inflation, and the teaching of race and ethnicity in a Latino- and Native American-heavy state.


Democratic voters are choose a candidate for the state’s top law enforcement post, replacing Attorney General Hector Balderas. Albuquerque-based District Attorney Raúl Torrez faces State Examiner Brian Colón in a hard-fought campaign with few ideological divisions.


A trio of Republican incumbents face main challengers run on their political right.

Governor Kristi Noem, considered a potential White House prospect, is preferred to win the GOP nomination. A rival, state legislature Steve HaugaardShe has argued that Noem spent more time trying to build a national political profile than to focus on their work at home. She mostly ignored him.


US Senator John Thune faced Trump’s wrath after denying the former president’s voter fraud allegations. However, no known challenger has emerged in Thune’s re-election bid. one of his opponents Mark Mowrywas among the crowds demonstrating near the Capitol on January 6.

in the house, Republican lawmaker Taffy Howard tries to solve GOP MP Dusty Johnson in the lonely district of the state. Johnson touts his Conservative voting record but retains the ability to work across party lines, but Howard has tried to cast him as a foot soldier for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.



Associated Press writers Tom Beaumont in Des Moines, Iowa; Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Miss.; Matthew Brown of Billings, Mont.; Michael Catalini of Trenton, NJ; Morgan Lee in Santa Fe, NM; and Stephen Groves of Sioux Falls, SD contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/06/2022-midterms-what-to-watch-in-primaries-in-7-states/ What to Watch in the 7 State Primary Elections

Sarah Y. Kim

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