Southern California Democrats throw their weight behind Young Kim challenger

Associated Press/Nick Ut
Dr. Asif Mahmood, a physician who came to the U.S. from Pakistan, announces he is joining the 2018 race for California’s lieutenant governor in front of the downtown federal building that houses a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office in Los Angeles Wednesday, March 29, 2017. Dr. Mahmood is promising to run on his…

A Pakistan-born doctor jumped into a competitive House race in California Thursday, boasting endorsements from a slew of top-level Democrats.

Asif Mahmood (D), who in 2018 ran to be California’s insurance commissioner, launched his race to unseat Rep. Young Kim, the South Korea-born Republican who in 2020 unseated former Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-Calif.).

“Families in the new 40th district work hard. We put our heads together to solve problems. When our neighbors face hard times, we help each other,” said Mahmood in a statement.

“But politicians like Congresswoman Young Kim aren’t lifting a finger to help families here at home. Our country has big problems, but Congresswoman Kim is fighting against common-sense solutions that have bipartisan support,” he added.

Kim, who in 2020 won California’s 39th District, filed for reelection in the 40th, due to redistricting. 

The new district, although competitive, will more heavily lean Republican. 

According to an analysis of California redistricting by political statistics site 538, the new district will have a GOP lean, being 4 percentage points more Republican than the nation as a whole. The previous district was 6 points more Democratic than the nation as a whole.

Still, Mahmood launched his campaign with support from 12 sitting members of Congress, including prolific fundraisers like Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) and several other Southern California natives, as well as House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.)

Mahmood also has endorsements from four Democratic statewide elected officials, Lt. Gov. Eleni Konalakis, State Controller Betty Yee, Attorney General Rob Bonta, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, and Irvine, Calif., Mayor Farrah Khan.

Mahmood and Kim will compete in a multiparty primary with at least one other candidate, Greg Raths (R), with the top two candidates regardless of party affiliation advancing to the general election. 

Mahmood centered his campaign announcement on opposition to offshore drilling, support for abortion rights and support for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, taking shots at Kim for holding opposing views.

“Just days before the Orange County oil spill, Congresswoman Kim voted against billions in disaster aid for our communities. She has taken thousands of dollars in big oil contributions, and even after the spill, she isn’t doing a thing to stop drilling off our coasts. I believe in science and climate change, and I will fight to end our addiction to big oil,” said Mahmood. 

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story stated that Nicole López (D) was also in the running for California’s 40th district. López filed to run in the 40th before California’s redistricting map was approved, and has since amended her filing to run in California’s 42nd district.


Tags 2020 midterms California's 40th District Gil Cisneros Gregory Meeks Young Kim

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