Endorsement: Asif Mahmood for Congress
California’s independent congressional redistricting gave Orange County Rep. Young Kim (R-La Habra) an easier path to reelection after she chose to run for the 40th District, which has a larger percentage of Republican voters than her previous district. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, however, may prove to be a hurdle to her easy reelection.
Kim, like other Republicans in swing districts, has spent the months since the court’s decision avoiding answering questions about reproductive rights. It’s no wonder why — polls show abortion is one of the most important issues to independents and Democrats.
Kim’s avoidance of the topic has created an opportunity for her challenger in the Nov. 8 election, Democrat Asif Mahmood, a physician who has made protecting reproductive rights a centerpiece of his campaign. He regularly reminds voters that Kim voted no on bills to codify the rights to an abortion and contraception nationwide, and that Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has proposed a nationwide ban on abortion after 15 weeks that could become law if the GOP wins control of the House and Senate in November.
The L.A. Times’ editorial board endorsements for statewide ballot measures, elected offices in Los Angeles city and county, L.A. Unified School District board, L.A. county superior court, statewide offices, the state Legislature and U.S. House and Senate seats.
At a moment when every seat counts, we recommend Mahmood for the 40th Congressional District. He’s committed to fighting for the personal rights that Californians have come to expect but that are now under threat by the Supreme Court and increasingly backward-looking Republican leaders.
Mahmood is a pulmonologist who has long been involved in philanthropy and community work in Southern California, including serving on the board of the largest homeless shelter in the region.
After years of providing healthcare and seeing the burden that high costs place on families, Mahmood said one of his top priorities is strengthening the Affordable Care Act and lowering the cost of prescription drugs. He hasn’t presented detailed policies for healthcare legislation. But in supporting reducing drug prices, he offers a sharp contrast to Kim, who voted against common-sense reforms, like a bill to cap the price of insulin at $35 per month for most patients.
Kim turned down a request for an interview with the editorial board. She’s a former state assemblymember who was elected to Congress in 2020 after edging out incumbent Democrat Gil Cisneros. During that election, Kim cast herself as an independent voice who would call out then-President Trump when she disagreed with him.
She did that, to her credit, when she voted to certify the 2020 electoral votes from Pennsylvania, breaking with the majority of the GOP. “The electoral college has voted and I will respect their vote,” she explained in a statement. (She missed the vote on Arizona’s electoral votes because she was waiting for the results of a COVID test.) Kim voted against impeaching Trump for his role in the insurrection.
Kim was elected to the 39th District, but chose to run for reelection in the newly redrawn 40th District, which stretches from Mission Viejo to Yorba Linda in Orange County, and includes Corona in Riverside County and Chino Hills in San Bernardino County. It’s almost an entirely new area for her; she hasn’t represented four-fifths of voters in the district. During the June primary, Kim and national GOP groups spent millions of dollars to fend off a Trump-supporting challenger, Greg Raths, by emphasizing her conservative credentials and support for a secure border.
Mahmood spent more than $400,000 on ads attacking Raths for being too conservative on abortion, which Kim’s allies decried as a stealth way to boost Raths with the district’s GOP voters and hurt Kim’s chances of making the runoff. It didn’t work.
The maneuvering and money poured into the race show its importance in deciding whether the House stays blue or flips to red. There’s much at stake — reproductive rights, personal freedoms, climate change — and we think Mahmood is a vote for progress.
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