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Election 2022: Primary results for 40th District race with Young Kim are coming soon

Riverside Press-Enterprise logo Riverside Press-Enterprise 6/7/2022 Brooke Staggs, The Press-Enterprise

GOP incumbent Rep. Young Kim and Democrat Asif Mahmood are considered top contenders in the primary for the newly drawn 40th Congressional District that’s largely in eastern Orange County.

Late spending by both of those candidates and their parties does suggest concerns that Republican challenger Greg Raths could upset Kim and advance with Mahmood, though Raths is competing with Republican candidate Nick Taurus for the district’s most conservative voters.

We’ll offer live updates here for this race as votes are counted, starting shortly after 8 p.m. tonight and potentially continuing over the next few days.

The two candidates who get the most votes in the June 7 primary will move on to the November general election, which will decide who will represent the district’s nearly half a million residents in Washington, D.C. for the next two years.

The CA-40 race could help determine which party ultimately controls Congress next year. The district — which stretches from Rancho Mission Viejo north to Yorba Linda in Orange County, plus includes Chino Hills in San Bernardino County and a slice of Corona in western Riverside County — was formed during redistricting in December, but includes portions of two former districts (CA-39 and CA-45) that have been swing seats in the past two elections.

As the only Democrat in the primary, Mahmood — an internal medicine physician who moved to Tustin for this campaign — is expected to get the most votes. That could be particularly true during the early returns, which primarily reflect early mail-in votes and have tended to lean blue since a faction of the GOP expressed distrust of voting by mail. When additional votes are counted, any lead Mahmood might hold figures to narrow.

But experts caution that Mahmood’s performance in the primary won’t offer a clear signal about what might happen if he ends up squaring off with Kim or one of the Republican challengers in November, since those three candidates are now splitting the GOP vote.

Kim is a House freshman who lives just outside CA-40, in La Habra. She’s raised $5.4 million this cycle to Mahmood’s $1.7 million.

A few months ago, forecasters rated the CA-40 race as “solid Republican,” given Kim’s advantages as an incumbent, voter registration in the district that favors Republicans by 5 points and a pattern of the minority party performing well in the midterms. But in recent weeks, some forecasters changed their rating to “lean Republican,” as Mahmood’s campaign started predicting Raths would advance to November and Kim’s campaign started pouring money into ads targeting Raths.

If Kim advances, experts predict she’ll narrowly hang onto her position. If Raths advances, experts say Mahmood has a much greater chance of flipping the seat.

About the 40th District

Voter registration: 38.3% Republican, 33.1% Democrat, 26.8% no party preference.

Demographics: Older and less diverse than neighboring areas at 69.6% White, 16.2% Latino, 13.1% Asian American, 1.2% Black

2020 pick for president: Joe Biden by 2 points

Raths, 69 — who was a fighter pilot in the Marines for 30 years and has been a Mission Viejo councilman since 2014 — garnered 45.6% of the vote in 2020 when he made it to the general election against incumbent Democratic Rep. Katie Porter in a district that largely overlaps with the new CA-40. He lost that race by about seven points.

Raths drew criticism from Jewish community leaders less than two weeks before this Election Day for comments they deemed anti-Semitic. He’s reported $136,110 in fundraising this cycle.

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Taurus, a 30-year-old junk hauler and self-proclaimed American Nationalist from Laguna Hills, has also drawn headlines for his involvement in orchestrated efforts to confront Democratic and establishment GOP leaders that both ended with police being called in. His campaign raised less than $10,000.

Elections officials will continue counting mail-in ballots that were postmarked by today into next week. If results are close, it might be several days before it’s clear who made it out of the primary.

Check here for updates as new vote counts come in.

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