Following the Primary Election June 7, and a week of no declared runner-up, election officials announced that Congresswoman Young Kim (R-CA) officially came in second-place in the 40th Congressional District election, defeating GOP challenger Greg Raths, and will move on to face Democrat Asif Mahmood this November.
Kim, who became a member of Congress in 2020 representing part of Orange County following a slim victory over incumbent Harley Rouda, had moved to a new district following Congressional redistricting following the 2020 Census. With Kim now in a differently boundaried 40th district instead of in the previous 39th district boundaries, new challengers in 2022 came forward. Asif Mahmood, a medical doctor and California Medical Board member, became the main Democratic opponent in the race while Kim was challenged within her own party by Greg Raths, a retired Marine Corps colonel and fighter pilot who had previously lost his last Congressional run to Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) 46.5% to 53.5% in 2020.
Kim battled Raths in the district as, with the new makeup of the district, Republicans would have a distinct advantage over Democrats in terms of registered party members and support. While Mahmood easily came in first on Primary day due to the split GOP support. Raths and Kim remained close enough as votes were tallied so that no official second place victor was declared. This all changed on Monday and Tuesday.
With enough votes now in, Kim came in with 50,147, or 34.6%, roughly 9,000 votes behind Mahmood’s 59,411, or 41%. Raths, whom Mahmood supporters had hoped would win due to him being less moderate than Kim, and turning many of those votes to the Democrats instead, had only 33,691 votes, or 23.2%.
Kim celebrated reaching the ballot Monday. In a tweet, she noted that “Thank you to everyone who has joined Team Young and our fight for common sense, trusted leadership in Congress. Today the work continues to win in November, deliver results for #CA40 and get our country back on track. We’re just getting started.”
Thank you to everyone who has joined #TeamYoung and our fight for commonsense, trusted leadership in Congress.
— Young Kim (@YoungKimCA) June 14, 2022
Observers noted that Kim, while not guaranteed re-election, will have a much easier General Election as a result.
“It’s Kim’s to lose at this point,” Heath Becker, a New York-based political analyst who focuses on swing districts, told the Globe on Tuesday. “Primary elections always have lower turnouts, especially with the low turnout we saw last Tuesday. But even if you factor in a greater number of Democrats not coming out than Republicans, the statistics aren’t looking good for Mahmood. He had only 41% as the only Democrat in the race. The three Republicans combined had 59% of the vote, with Kim herself still managing to be within striking distance of winning.
“Raths generally appealed to the more Conservative voters, but in a choice between Kim and Mahmood, they’ll take Kim, so it’s not as though she lost those votes. November is still far away, and if COVID returns in a significant way, a Doctor running for Congress could prove to be a little tricky to beat. But Kim has a proven track record now and is an old-school Republican you don’t see a lot of these days. A lot of voters kind of want to see normalcy again after years of upturns and uncertainty. The race will still be close, but again, it is hers to lose.”
The 2022 general election is to be held November 8, 2022.
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