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Primary elections for seats that could decide House control take place Tuesday

House races

Seventy-eight congressional districts will hold primaries Tuesday, with about 19 in competitive districts that could determine control of the U.S. House this November, according to ratings by The Cook Political Report.

Ten of them are in California. This includes Republican David Valadao in California's 22nd District, who was one of the ten House Republicans who voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, attacks. Two Republicans are challenging Valadao in the primary, former city Councilman Chris Mathys and Education Board Trustee Adam Medeiros, but Trump has not endorsed either of them.

Rep. David Valadao
UNITED STATES - MAY 12: Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., speaks during the news conference on the Invest to Protect Act outside the Capitol on Thursday, May 12, 2022. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

California has a "top-two" primary system where the top two vote getters move on to the general, regardless of party. In an attempt to boost Mathys' chances of blocking Valadao out, the Democrat-backed House Majority PAC has ran an ad that point out Valadao's impeachment vote and highlights Mathys as being "100 percent pro-Trump and proud."

State Assemblyman Rudy Salas is expected to be the Democratic nominee against Valadao, if he makes it, in November, attempting to flip back a seat that was held by a Democrat until 2020.

Democratic Reps. Katie Porter, Josh Harder and Mike Levin are on the target list for national Republicans and are waiting to see who their challenger this November will be. Of the three, Levin may face the toughest race, since his district leans Democratic by only two points, according to data from Dave's Redistricting App. 

Two House Republicans who flipped seats in traditionally conservative Orange County, Young Kim and Michelle Steel, are top targets for Democrats this cycle. Kim is being challenged from the right by Mission Viejo City Council  councilman Greg Raths. Her campaign and the House GOP-backed Congressional Leadership Fund have run ads portraying him as a liberal, a sign they're taking the challenge seriously. Physician Asif Mahmood is likely to be the Democratic nominee. 

Steel saw her district become slightly more Democratic during redistricting. She's been in a combative campaign against Democratic Navy veteran Jay Chen, a Taiwanese-American. Both Kim and Steel are among the first Korean Americans to serve in Congress. 

Two Democrats are running against Republican Mike Garcia, who flipped California's 25th District in Los Angeles County in 2020: Christy Smith, a state assemblywoman who lost to Garcia twice, and veteran John Quaye Quartey.

Also in California, the special election for Republican Devin Nunes' seat. Nunes, one of Trump's biggest allies, resigned in 2021 to run Trump's social media company,"TRUTH Social." Republican Connie Conway will face Democrat Lourin Hubbard to complete the rest of Nunes' term. The version of the district Nunes represented, the 22nd, will cease to exist in 2023 due to the new Congressional map, so neither candidate has said they'll run for a district in November.

Iowa and New Jersey also have three competitive seats each, while New Mexico has two. In Montana, Ryan Zinke, a former interior secretary during the Trump administration, is trying to clear his primary for the new Congressional district that covers the western bit of the state.

Election 2022 House Montana
FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, then-Republican U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke speaks with a supporter in Billings, Mont., as he campaigns for re-election to a second term as the state's sole representative in the U.S. House.  Matt Brown / AP

All three Republican incumbents In Mississippi have challengers on the right. Rep. Steven Palazzo's race in Mississippi's 4th District is likely to head to a runoff, since six other Republicans will be trying to siphon away votes from him. 

One of Rep. Michael Guest's primary opponents, former Navy pilot Michael Cassidy, has gone after him for voting to establish a Jan. 6 commission. Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson, chair of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attacks, is being primaried by businessman Jerry Kerner, who is running to the right of Thompson.


California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is up for reelection this year. Newsom easily beat back a recall attempt in September and appears to be on a clear path to winning a second term. 

None of the Republicans who were running to replace Newsom in the recall jumped into the 2022 race, but several lesser-known challengers are running.

Governor Gavin Newsom
FILE: Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a press conference on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, in Oakland, Calif.  MediaNews Group/East Bay Times v

Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla is also on the ballot this year. Newsom appointed Padilla to fill Vice President Kamala Harris' vacated Senate seat. Padilla is expected to win a full-term and serve the remainder of Harris' term.

FILE: California Secretary of State Alex Padilla speaks during a press conference to discuss voting rights and voter registration  Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images

In Los Angeles, voters will weigh in on the city's next mayor. Current Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is term-limited. President Biden also nominated Garcetti to serve as ambassador to India, although he has not yet been confirmed. 

The top candidates to replace Garcetti appear to be Representative Karen Bass and real estate developer Rick Caruso. Caruso has spent about $40 million on the race, compared to Bass' $3.2 million. Caruso has spent roughly what Vice President Kamala Harris spent on her 2020 presidential campaign. 

Bass was on Mr. Biden's vice presidential shortlist in 2020 and has been running as a progressive candidate. She has been criticized by some liberal activists over her plans for ending homelessness and hiring more police officers, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Caruso, a former Republican, spent years without a party affiliation and registered as a Democrat in January 2022. He said in a statement announcing his Democratic affiliation that he will be a "pro-centrist, pro-jobs, pro-public safety Democrat."

A UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll from late May showed Bass (38%) and Caruso (32%) well ahead of Los Angeles city councilmember Kevin de Leon (6%). If a candidate doesn't receive more than 50% of the vote, the top two candidates will face off in a runoff in November. 

The top issues for voters, according to that poll, were homelessness (45%), crime and public safety (34%) and housing affordability (26%). 

In the Bay Area, voters will decide whether to recall progressive San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. Boudin is one of the most high-profile district attorneys in the country and the recall is seen as a measure of how voters in a solidly Democratic city feel about progressive criminal justice policies. 

One of Boudin's key platforms included reducing incarcerations, and he said public safety would be his top concern. Critics say San Francisco isn't safer and blame Boudin's progressive policies and diversion programs for crime in the city. 

If Boudin is recalled, San Francisco Mayor London Breed would appoint his replacement. 


Iowa Democrats will nominate a candidate who will likely challenge Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley in November. Former Representative Abby Finkenauer, retired Admiral Michael Franken and Glenn Hurst, a doctor and Minden city councilmember, are all vying for the nomination.

Senate Holds Confirmation Hearing For Ketanji Brown Jackson To Be Supreme Court Justice
FILE: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asks questions of Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during her confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill on Monday, Mar. 22, 2022 in Washington, DC.  Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Finkenauer had to fight to get on the ballot after a judge initially ruled that she did not have enough signatures to qualify for the primary ballot. The Iowa Supreme Court reversed that decision several days later.

She was elected to Congress in 2018, but lost her bid for reelection in 2020. Franken is making another run at the Senate after losing in the Democratic primary in 2020.

Grassley, who is the oldest Republican senator at 88 years old, is running for his eighth term. He won his election in 2016 by about 24 points, but does have to get past a primary challenge from Iowa state Senator Jim Carlin. Cook Political Report rates the race as safe Republican.  

Iowa also has a gubernatorial race in November. Republican incumbent Governor Kim Reynolds will likely be a heavy favorite in that race. She is expected to face Democratic candidate Deidre DeJear. 

New Mexico

Republicans hope they'll be able to flip control of New Mexico's gubernatorial mansion when November rolls around. Democratic incumbent Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, has faced criticism after purchasing jewelry from a store when non-essential businesses were closed and settling a harassment claim from a former campaign staffer. 

Then-Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham joins fellow House Democrats during a news conference to criticize President Trump's proposed federal budget on the east side of the U.S. Capitol May 24, 2017, in Washington.
FILE: Then-Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham joins fellow House Democrats at news conference to criticize President Trump's proposed federal budget, May 24, 2017, U.S. Capitol. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A Morning Consult poll from late April showed 48% of registered voters in New Mexico approve of the job Lujan Grisham has done, while 45% disapprove.

Among those running in the Republican field are former television meteorologist Mark Ronchetti, state Rep. Rebecca Dow, Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block, veteran Greg Zanetti and executive director of New Mexico Right to Life Ethel Maharg. 

A recent KOB/SurveyUSA poll found the economy (41%) was the most important issue for voters followed by crime (16%) and climate change and water supply (13%). GOP primary voters were most concerned about immigration, but only about one in eight voters overall said it was their most important issue. 

Ronchetti, who was on New Mexico airwaves as a meteorologist for about two decades, was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 2020 and lost to Democrat Ben Ray Lujan by about six points. 

Ronchetti has been the top fundraiser on the GOP side, raising nearly $2.5 million, according to the most recent data on the New Mexico Secretary of State's website. Dow has raised about $1.3 million, while Zanetti reported about $560,000 and Block reported roughly $250,000. Lujan Grisham led all of the candidates with about $5.4 million raised. 

South Dakota

South Dakota Senator John Thune, the second-ranking Republican, is seeking his fourth term in Washington. Thune has a couple of primary challengers, including National Guard veteran Bruce Whalen and entrepreneur Mark Mowry, but is expected to win on Tuesday. 

Transportation Secretary Foxx Testifies On Implementation Of The FAST Act
Senator John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota and chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, makes an opening statement during a hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, June 8, 2016.  Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Thune is expected to face Democrat Brian Bengs in November and will be a heavy favorite. Thune won 72% of the vote when he was last elected in 2016. 

South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem, who is seen as a rising star in Republican politics and is a potential future presidential candidate, is also on the ballot in 2022. Noem is facing former South Dakota House Speaker Steve Haugaard in the primary, who has claimed Noem isn't conservative enough.

Noem Daughter Meeting Explainer
FILE: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Family Leadership Summit in this July 16, 2021, file photo in Des Moines, Iowa.  Charlie Neibergall / AP

Noem, who has Trump's endorsement and a 58% approval rating, is expected to win her race. She will be a heavy favorite against expected Democratic candidate Jamie Smith, the Democratic House Minority Leader, in November. 

For races with three or more candidates, a candidate has to win at least 35% of the vote to avoid a runoff. 

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