June 2022

By Ben Hoffschneider

On June 7th, primaries took place in California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota. While it is still too soon to forecast what the House and Senate will look like come January, primary results so far have shown us that strong fundraising by GOP candidates has helped establishment Republicans hold their ground against MAGA-oriented challengers, while Democrats continued their efforts to capture long-time Republican seats made more favorable to them by redistricting.

In California, San Francisco’s 60%-40% decision to recall District Attorney Chesa Boudin demonstrates a national backlash against the progressive ideals that Boudin ran on in 2019, and which other Democratic candidates have continued to subscribe to, as public concern about crime continues to rise. In the Los Angeles Mayoral race, Republican Candidate Rick Caruso, who only entered the race in February, outspent his Democratic Opponent Rep. Karen Bass 11 times over in the run up to the primary – with neither candidate earning more than 50% of the vote, they will head to a runoff vote in November. Democrats will need to rally support and funding behind Bass to counter Caruso’s anti-establishment message and deep pockets. This race may set the tone for campaigns across the country, where spending on publicity is likely to be key in winning over voters concerned by inflation and other key issues.

In Iowa, former Democratic Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer lost the Democratic nomination for Senate to Ret. Adm. Mike Franken. Franken is set to face 89-year-old incumbent Senator Chuck Grassley in November. Grassley is a well-known candidate, having represented Iowa in the Senate for 40 years, and Franken will face an uphill battle to become competitive in the race.

In Montana, former Trump Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke led the race for Montana’s first seat with 41.4% of the vote. In New Mexico, Mark Ronchetti’s victory in the GOP primary for Governor sets him up to challenge Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. Ronchetti reportedly only raised half of what Lujan Grisham did during the primary – even though Lujan Grisham was running unopposed – teeing up yet another potential fundraising battle in the state Lujan Grisham won with 57.2% of the vote in 2018.

A full breakdown of Tuesday’s results can be found here.

Tuesday’s votes saw the parties determine their candidates for more than a dozen swing seats, bringing November’s battleground map into clearer focus. Keep an eye on the #BlueStarBrief as election day draws closer for more analysis and insight.