Trump ally seeks return to Congress as seven US states hold midterm primaries

US President Donald Trump walks past Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke as he stands to address the 17th annual 9/11 observance at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, US, on September 11 September 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON, June 7 (Reuters) – A former member of Donald Trump’s cabinet was trying to return to the U.S. Congress in Montana and California Democrats concerned about crime could oust one of their own when voters head to the polls in the election midterm primaries in seven states. tuesday.

Voters in South Dakota, New Jersey, Iowa, Mississippi and New Mexico also voted in nominating contests that will define the competitive field for the Nov. 8 election, which will determine Congressional control over the next two years.

With President Joe Biden plummeting in the polls and soaring inflation souring voters’ moods, Republicans are expected to take control of the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate, which would put a end to Biden’s legislative agenda and would empower Republicans to launch distracting activity and potentially politically damaging investigations.

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Just 41% of Americans approve of Biden’s performance as president, near the lowest level of his presidency, according to a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll conducted on Tuesday.

The poll also showed the Democratic Party and the Republican Party neck and neck in voter preferences ahead of November’s congressional elections. Thirty-nine percent said they would vote for a Democrat versus 37% for a Republican. The difference was well within the poll’s 4 percentage point credibility interval

More Americans also expressed confidence in Republicans’ ability to deal with inflation, which has surged this year. Democrats had the edge in voter preferences for responding to gun violence and for women’s rights, issues that have become more prominent following a series of mass shootings and expectations that the Supreme Court United States may soon override women’s constitutional right to abortion.

In Montana, Ryan Zinke, who served as Interior Secretary under former Republican President Trump, is running for a newly created House seat the state won through population growth and the redistricting process a times per decade.

Zinke, who once served in Congress, faces four Republican challengers, some of whom claim he is too liberal or lacks commitment to the state because his wife’s residence is in California.

Zinke was accused in an inspector general’s report this year of using his position as Home Office chief to advance a development project in his hometown and of lying to an investigator about ethics. He denied wrongdoing.

South Dakota’s conservative Republican Governor Kristi Noem faces a challenge from South Dakota House of Representatives member Steven Haugaard.

Noem has been mentioned as a possible running mate if former President Donald Trump seeks re-election in 2024 or as a full-fledged candidate for the White House if he does not.

The winners of each of these Republican primaries are favored to win in November.

SHAKEOUT IN CALIFORNIA

A pair of races in California will also illustrate the frustrations of liberal-leaning voters with spikes in homicides and gun violence. Read more

Polls show progressive San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin is likely to be ousted from office in a recall vote. A replacement would be chosen by the city’s mayor, London Breed, a Democrat who has criticized Boudin but has not taken a position on the recall.

In Los Angeles, Rick Caruso, a billionaire developer and former Republican, takes on U.S. Representative Karen Bass and a host of other liberal mayoral candidates.

Caruso, who has spent more than $30 million of his own campaign money, has made crime the centerpiece of his candidacy in a city that has seen homicides hit a 15-year high in 2021. That forced Bass , a longtime progressive champion in Congress, move to the center and commit to putting more police on the streets. Caruso and Bass could be heading to a second round, according to the polls.

NEW JERSEY AND IOWA CHALLENGES

Republicans are also choosing challengers for two beleaguered incumbent House Democrats: Representatives Tom Malinowski in New Jersey and Cindy Axne in Iowa.

Former Republican leader of the state Senate, Tom Kean Jr., the son of popular two-time Gov. Thomas Kean, leads a crowded Republican field to challenge Malinowski.

Malinowski, a two-term holder who entered Congress by flipping a Republican seat in 2018, won re-election beating Kean by 1.2 percentage points in 2020. Since then, his prospects have been weakened by redistricting and a House ethics investigation after reports he failed to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock trades.

“He was a nail biter in 2020 and his district has become a bit more Republican-friendly, so it’s going to be a tall order,” said Benjamin Dworkin, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship at the University. Rowan University.

In Iowa, three Republicans are vying for the chance to challenge Axne: businesswoman Nicole Hasso, construction consultant Gary Leffler, and former state senator Zach Nunn.

Nunn, the only Republican candidate to hold elected office, enjoys a slew of endorsements from party luminaries, including former Trump secretary of state Mike Pompeo and several sitting Republicans.

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Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Scott Malone and Alistair Bell

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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