Two marquee local races in heavily Democratic cities in California — the race to replace term-limited Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the effort to recall progressive San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin — have also demonstrated how far the pendulum has swung from the 2020 cycle, when criminal justice was a central issue for Democrats after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
In San Francisco, Boudin’s progressive policies as a national criminal justice reform advocate have become a central point of contention as residents have watched burglaries and car thefts increase — fueling calls for his ouster.
GOP Rep. Young Kim is also facing strong competition from her right flank in the newly drawn 40th District in Orange County from Marine veteran Greg Raths, another Trump loyalist.
On the flip side, Democrats hope to use GOP Rep. Mike Garcia’s ties to Trump against him in California’s 27th District after redistricting made his northern Los Angeles County seat more Democratic. (Garcia voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania.) Two Democrats, former state Assemblywoman Christy Smith and Quaye Quartey, a former Navy intelligence officer, are jockeying for the chance to take him on in November.
In Iowa, former US Rep. Abby Finkenauer is leading the Democratic field in fundraising as she attempts to take on veteran Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley two years after losing her re-election campaign to Republican Rep. Ashley Hinson. She is facing retired Navy Adm. Mike Franken and Glenn Hurst, a Minden City Council member, in the Democratic Senate primary. Finkenauer was in jeopardy of failing to make the ballot after a lower court in Iowa questioned some of the signatures on her nominating petition, but ultimately the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that her name could appear.
One of the most competitive races in the Hawkeye State is in the 3rd District, where incumbent Rep. Cindy Axne, the only Democrat in the congressional delegation, hopes to hold her seat in a district that Trump would have won by less than half a point. Her potential GOP challengers in the Des Moines-area district include State Sen. Zach Nunn, an Air Force veteran, and financial planner Nicole Hasso.
The other two competitive House races in Iowa are set. GOP Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks will face Democratic state Rep. Christina Bohannan in the new 1st District. In the 2nd District, Hinson will face Democratic state Sen. Liz Mathis, who is also a former local TV news anchor.
There are also several high-profile congressional races in New Jersey. In the state’s 7th District, Republican Tom Kean Jr., the former state Senate minority leader and son of former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, is the front-runner in his primary as he seeks to challenge Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski in a swing seat that became more Republican in redistricting.
In the 8th District in northern New Jersey, Democrat Rob Menendez Jr., son of New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, is well-positioned to win the primary as he seeks the seat of retiring Democratic Rep. Albio Sires.