San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin recalled as June 7 primaries highlight Democratic divisions
Rampant inflation, gun violence and abortion rights were on the minds of voters Tuesday as they headed to the polls in California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota. Republicans are taking advantage of rising costs and rising crime to try to retake the narrowly divided House and Senate this fall. They sought to blame those problems on the Biden administration and liberal policies, arguments that resonated with some voters on Tuesday.
Returning their ballots for Caruso together, a group of neighbors wished “a better future” before taking a selfie. One woman said crime was her biggest concern – her husband’s brother had been robbed at gunpoint the day before in Burbank.
Democrats are bracing for an uphill battle this fall amid low approval ratings for President Biden and political headwinds that the president’s party has historically faced in the first half. To counter these tendencies, Democrats seek to portray GOP candidates as extremists beholden to Trump.
“I’d like to have a working country back,” said Iowa voter Mehgin Lawrence, torn between several Democratic candidates vying to challenge Republican Charles E. Grassley, 88, the nation’s longest serving Republican senator. “There’s a lot of dysfunction in general on both sides of the aisle.”
Grassley was reappointed, according to the AP, and he is preferred to retain the seat. In the Democratic race to replace him, retired Navy Vice Admiral Mike Franken defeated former Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer, who was also seen as a strong contender. Franken sought to appeal to swing voters in Iowa. “It is this middle segment that wants logical, pragmatic, intelligent and dedicated national servants to work for them, leading servants,” he said during a recent debate. “I believe I am that person.”
The night’s early results from the East Coast and Deep South, meanwhile, highlighted conflicts within the GOP, offering the latest tests of former President Donald Trump’s influence and candidate efforts. more moderate to fend off challengers from their right.
In Mississippi, Rep. Michael Guest (R) was in a tight race with challenger Michael Cassidy with a majority of votes counted. Cassidy targeted Guest’s vote last year for a commission to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising by a pro-Trump mob at the U.S. Capitol. Rep. Steven M. Palazzo (R-Miss.) was forced into a runoff, the Associated Press projected, amid scrutiny of an ethics body’s conclusion there is significant evidence he misspent campaign money .
“Look where we are today,” said Pamela Turner, a retired nurse and “staunch Republican” from Mississippi who blamed Democrats for the state of the country, even as she voted to oust Palazzo. “Look at the price of gasoline.”
Sam Welford, 45, voted for one of the opponents, Clay Wagner, and said Palazzo had “run its course”. Welford said he doesn’t align with any party, but said rising prices under Biden played a key role in his choice to vote Republican on Tuesday.
In New Jersey’s 7th congressional district — one of many the GOP hopes to unseat this year — Tom Kean Jr. was expected to defeat challengers who attacked him as not being conservative enough. And Sen. John Thune (RS.D.), who clashed with Trump, was reappointed, according to the AP.
Republicans call Kean a top rookie and say the former state senator is well-positioned to overthrow the seat in November. The son of a former governor and grandson of a former congressman, Kean finished just over a percentage point behind incumbent Rep. Tom Malinowski (D) in 2020 and will face Malinowski again this fall in more favorable conditions for Republicans in the country.
At a polling station in Bridgewater Township on Tuesday, Bob Hummer said while he had voted in the Democratic primary, he was leaning towards voting for Kean in the general election – he said Republicans were better on economic issues.
In California, Democrats offered voters different approaches and tones on public safety — underscoring how the issue has irked voters even in liberal strongholds.
In 2019, voters embraced Boudin’s rhetoric for a less punitive justice system that seeks to rehabilitate offenders. Drawing on his experience as a public defender and his personal history — his parents went to jail when he was a child — Boudin triumphed over an acting district attorney backed by the Democratic establishment. The district attorney’s supporters say he has become an easy scapegoat for a systemic, national problem: Crime has increased in many major cities during the coronavirus pandemic.
“There’s a very long tradition on the right of using these issues as a wedge, of using these issues as a weapon, with no real interest in proven solutions to reduce crime,” Julie Edwards said. , spokesperson for the anti-recall effort, in an interview.
But recently, leaders like Boudin have been on the defensive, as Republicans point to push from some activists to “defund the police” and Democrats, including Biden, attempt to recalibrate their party’s image.
With about half of the votes polled early Wednesday morning, about 60% were in favor of Boudin’s recall, the AP reported. San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D), who has called for a crackdown on “criminals who are destroying our city,” will appoint Boudin’s replacement.
Caruso, the wealthy Los Angeles developer, has presented himself as the candidate for change in the mayoral race, promising a tougher response to homelessness and crime. He poured his own fortune into the campaign, spending tens of millions of dollars.
Bass, a veteran lawmaker and a finalist to become Biden’s 2020 running mate, also vowed to tackle a “humanitarian emergency” of homelessness and made public safety a key issue. But she emphasizes social services to prevent crime and says not all neighborhoods want the police to be more visible.
Early Wednesday morning, when most of the votes had yet to be counted, Bass and Caruso were in a tight race. Because neither candidate won a majority of votes in a crowded field, they will face off again in November, when quarterbacks say they expect Caruso to face tougher odds.
For some voters, the choice was anyone but Caruso.
“I think he’s a little too polite for my liking,” Daniel Sackler, 57, said, though he agreed with some of Caruso’s proposals on crime. “Most billionaires are untrustworthy.”
Jennifer Dustin, 46, said she considered moving her family from Los Angeles due to crime concerns – but voted for Bass anyway.
“They’re all going to say the same thing,” said 33-year-old Jake Kuczeruk. “Whether that translates into action, that’s the real question.”
Liberal DA finds voter mood has changed even in San Francisco
Also in California, Rep. Young Kim (R), who flipped her seat in 2020, faced not only Democrat Asif Mahmood but also GOP rivals, including city council member and fighter pilot Greg Raths. retirement. A super PAC aligned with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has funded ads against Raths as Young tries to ensure she progresses through California’s unusual primary system. The two candidates with the most votes stand in the general elections, regardless of their party.
California Rep. David G. Valadao (R) was seeking re-election as his opponent, Chris Mathys, attacked his vote last year to impeach Trump for his conduct that led to the capture of the Capitol last year. Trump has not endorsed a challenger, despite investing massive political capital in the races of other critics — underscoring many Republicans’ belief that Valadao is their best bet to retain a blue-leaning district.
Other US House races have also caught the attention of party strategists. In Iowa, State Senator Zach Nunn won the Republican race to challenge Representative Cindy Axne, the state’s only conservative-leaning Democratic lawmaker in Congress. The seat should be very competitive this fall.
In Montana, one of Trump’s cabinet members – former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who resigned during an ethics inquiry – was in a tight race for the Republican nomination in a new district in the Congress that should boost the GOP. influence in the House. Montana won a second House seat after the 2020 census.
Zinke, who won Trump’s endorsement, has four opponents in the GOP primary. Critics noted that he split his time between Montana and California and also pointed to the government oversight report released this year which found he broke federal rules as Secretary of the Interior and had also lied to an ethics officer.
Former local TV weatherman Mark Ronchetti won in a crowded GOP field to face New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), according to the Associated Press, as Republicans see room for gains even in a Democrat-controlled state. Ronchetti ran for state senate in 2020 and lost to Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D).
Democrats said they believe Ronchetti’s views do not align with those of New Mexico voters, pointing to comments he made questioning climate change as the state deals with wildfires. massive forest. “No individual fire or storm is the result of climate change,” Ronchetti told the Albuquerque Journal. “This is not the case.”
Annie Linskey and Scott Clement in Washington; Brian Wellner in Iowa; Ashley Cusick in Mississippi; Miranda Green in Los Angeles; and Jack Wright in New Jersey contributed to this report.