Your guide to California’s Congressional District 40 race: Rep. Young Kim vs. Asif Mahmood

Republican Rep. Young Kim, left, and Dr. Asif Mahmood
Republican Rep. Young Kim, left, and Dr. Asif Mahmood, a Democrat, are competing to represent California’s 40th Congressional District.
(Los Angeles Times)

The race in California’s 40th Congressional District pits Republican Rep. Young Kim against Dr. Asif Mahmood, a Democrat.

In this affluent, suburban district that’s mostly in Orange County, Republicans have a 4.5-point voter registration advantage, though President Biden won here by 1.6 percentage points.

Though Kim, who lives just outside the district, in La Habra, is running as the incumbent, this district was among the most changed in the redrawing of congressional maps after the 2020 census; she has not represented four-fifths of the voters who live here. Members of Congress are not required to live in the districts they represent.


Who are the candidates?

Kim, who was born in South Korea, was one of the first three Korean American women elected to Congress in 2020. She previously served in the state Assembly for two years and unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2018. The USC graduate worked for more than two decades for Rep. Ed Royce, a former longtime member of Congress from Orange County.

The voters in Kim’s new district are more conservative and less diverse than her current constituents. Her message — once strongly focused on her bipartisan appeal — shifted to the right, particularly on immigration, during the primary when she faced a challenge from the right. Before the June primary, her ads told residents to “Vote Conservative, Vote Kim.”

Kim said her top legislative priorities would be to slow inflation, cut “reckless” spending, stop illegal immigration and push for legislation to help seniors looking to expand or build a small business. Kim recently voted against the Inflation Reduction Act.

Where U.S. House candidates Republican Young Kim and Democrat Asif Mahmood stand on the economy, high prices, abortion, immigration, gun laws and more.

Oct. 20, 2022

Kim broke with the majority of GOP members of Congress who objected to certifying the 2020 electoral votes from Pennsylvania; she missed the vote on Arizona’s electoral votes because she was waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test. She voted against impeaching President Trump for his role in the Capitol insurrection and against creating an independent commission to investigate the events of Jan. 6, 2021.

Mahmood was raised in rural Pakistan and became the first student from his village to attend medical school. After receiving his degree in 1987, he completed his residency at the University of Kentucky and moved to Southern California in 1999. He has said his life has been guided by a principle taught by his parents: that helping others is the highest calling. He says he has exemplified this tenet by not asking for payment from patients who don’t have insurance.

The pulmonologist unsuccessfully ran for state insurance commissioner in 2018. If elected to Congress, Mahmood says, his top legislative priorities would be fighting inflation; lowering the costs of healthcare, prescription drugs and education; reducing taxes for the middle class; protecting reproductive rights; implementing “common-sense” gun safety laws and increasing workforce training.


Where is District 40?

The district is largely based in Orange County, including Aliso Viejo, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Tustin and Villa Park. It also has fingers into Corona in Riverside County and Chino Hills in San Bernardino County.


Where Kim and Mahmood stand on key issues


Kim has consistently voted against measures to protect abortion access, including the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022, the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act of 2022 and the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021.

“I respect the Supreme Court’s decision and believe abortion should be largely left to the states. As a mother and new grandmother, I am pro-life and will always stand up for the most vulnerable among us,” Kim told The Times in answer to a questionnaire sent to candidates in key races. She did not answer the portion of the question regarding whether there should be exceptions for rape, incest or the health of the pregnant person.


Mahmood said he would fight in Congress to codify Roe vs. Wade as federal law, calling the Supreme Court decision overturning the landmark 1973 ruling “an attack on women.”

“In my work as a physician, I have seen just how personal these decisions are. The difficult choice to terminate a pregnancy should remain between the patient and physician. I believe there should be federal protections for abortion access,” he told The Times, and criticized lawmakers who “insert themselves into these very personal decisions.”


Kim’s campaign texts before the primary touted her support for border security, including “Keeping Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy,” which forced asylum seekers who went through Mexico to reach the U.S. border to wait in that country for their cases to be processed.

“I do not support a blanket amnesty for those who entered our country illegally,” said Kim, who often points out that she came to the U.S. through proper channels. “I do believe in a path to legal status for ‘Dreamers’ — people who came as children and have [resided] in our country for many years.”


“Our immigration system needs a massive overhaul. I support comprehensive immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship for those who follow the rules,” Mahmood said.

“As an immigrant myself, I know how life-changing it is to be able to come to this country in search of a better life,” he said. “However, we need to support those who do it the right way and wait their turn in line. Border security is an important part of the equation and must be strengthened.”


Past coverage

Where U.S. House candidates Republican Young Kim and Democrat Asif Mahmood stand on the economy, high prices, abortion, immigration, gun laws and more.

Oct. 20, 2022

In California election ads, Democrats running for Congress spotlight abortion access after Roe vs. Wade’s overturn; Republicans focus on inflation.

Oct. 19, 2022

California Republicans hope inflation gives them an edge with independents in tight congressional races as Democrats fight to keep control of the House.

Oct. 16, 2022


How and where to vote

Ballots have been mailed to all 22 million registered voters in the state. Californians can return ballots by mail, drop them at collection boxes or turn them in at voting centers. They can also cast ballots early at voting centers or wait until Nov. 8 to vote at their neighborhood polling places.

Find out how to register, check voter status and vote here:

Here’s how to vote in the California midterm election, how to register, what to do if you didn’t get mail ballot or if you made a mistake on your ballot.

Nov. 1, 2022


For more election coverage

California voters head to the polls Nov. 8 to vote for U.S. senator, governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, controller, treasurer, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, the state Board of Equalization, judges, members of Congress and the state Legislature. Local races in Los Angeles include mayor and county sheriff. There are also seven ballot propositions on the table.