Election 2022: Primaries focus on control of US House

Election 2022: Primaries focus on control of US House

A midterm primary season that opened with elections testing former President Donald Trump’s influence among Republicans enters a new phase this week with contests in the U.S. House that will shape the future of Congress.

From suburban New Jersey to the capital of Iowa to California’s Central Valley, Tuesday’s primary elections will determine which Republicans face off against some of the most prominent Democrats who helped overthrow control of the House of States. United four years ago.

For these members of the class of 2018, the clashes take place in a radically different environment. Trump walked out of the White House, replaced by a president from his own party whose approval ratings are plummeting. Moderate suburban voters who turned to Democrats during the Trump era may be open to Republicans again, frustrated by a range of challenges from inflation to rising gas prices and a shortage of formula milk.

Against that backdrop, some of the vulnerable Democrats who will learn who their Republican opponents will be this week said they are preparing for an intense campaign season. They plan to spend the coming months in a relentless effort to stay focused on solutions to local issues.

“I will only work on issues that have a profound impact on our community,” U.S. Representative Josh Harder, D-California, said in an interview.

Representing a district with workers who travel up to 90 miles to get to jobs near San Francisco, Harder said he plans to focus on his — so far unsuccessful — effort to repeal the tax gasoline federal government. He also co-sponsored legislation, which passed the House last month, to crack down on alleged price gouging by oil companies and other energy producers, a bill facing strong odds in the US Senate. , evenly split between Democrats and Republicans.

“These are local issues with national connections,” he said, noting that his votes in the House “only have an impact if they are really seen, understood and felt by the people of a district like this”.

Meredith Kelly, senior adviser to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2018, said this week’s races are “previews of real fall battles in swing districts.”

“These are proven starters who not only won in 2018 but held on in 2020, for many in a year that was tougher than some expected,” she said.

Republicans only need to win five seats to take control of the House in the fall. Few Democratic seats are more at risk than that of Rep. Cindy Axne, whose Iowa district stretches from Democratic-leaning Des Moines to GOP-friendly suburbs and staunchly conservative farmlands in the southwest corner of the city. ‘Iowa.

Axne squeaked at re-election by 1.4 percentage points in 2020, as Trump trailed Biden in the district by just a tenth of a percentage point. Last year’s redistricting replaced some conservative western Iowa counties in its current district with even more conservative, albeit sparsely populated, poor rural counties along the Missouri border.

Faced with such an intimidating environment, she exemplifies the grassroots approach of many vulnerable Democrats.

During a recent stop in Davis County, new to the district where Axne is running and where Trump won nearly 74% of the vote, she ticked thanks to extensive high-speed internet and availability. of corn-based ethanol as part of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill that Biden signed into law. in November. More local still, she noted the new telehealth unit at the hospital in Albia, a nearby town of about 3,700 in a rural, low-income county in south-central Iowa.

“It’s my bill,” she told the midday audience at a restaurant in Bloomfield. “I absolutely tackle the issues of rural America.”

But other Democrats say they will move beyond so-called local economic issues.

In New Jersey, Rep. Tom Malinowski focuses on gas prices eating away at the wallets of commuters in his district. But it also points to the possibility of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade, which granted a national right to abortion.

“It’s getting very real very, very soon for a lot of people,” Malinowski said, especially in his district, populated by younger, educated adults who surveys show tend to support maintaining the legality of abortion in all or most cases. “I think it becomes a lot more of a voting thing.”

New Jersey state Sen. Tom Kean Jr., the favorite in Tuesday’s six-party GOP primary to face Malinowski, exemplifies the Republican message in those districts, fusing Democrats with Biden’s unpopularity, especially over decades of high cost of living.

“Voters know that Tom Malinowski and Joe Biden are directly responsible for the record high prices they are paying for everything from gas to groceries,” said Kean, who lost to Malinowski by 1.2 percentage points in 2020, in a statement written on Friday.

Although some Democrats say a threat to legal abortion could help Democrats not just retain but win competitive seats, veteran Republican pollster David Winston says the force of economic headwinds outweighs even the problems. burning for voters on the left.

“There’s a distinction between the issues that are important to people and the ones that they consider very important, and then there are the issues that they’re ultimately going to consider when they walk into the voting booth,” he said. said Winston, who served as a senior adviser to the Republican National Congressional Committee.

“When economic issues pave the way to a scale where people face such big issues, it will be economic issues.” said Winston.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.