September 28, 2022
Kevin Kiley and Kermit Jones are the two top vote-getters in California’s all-party primary for its 3rd Congressional District, setting up what is likely to be a competitive midterm election contest in the fall for one of the nation's most sprawling House seats.

Kevin Kiley and Kermit Jones are the two top vote-getters in California’s all-party primary for its 3rd Congressional District, setting up what is likely to be a competitive midterm election contest in the fall for one of the nation’s most sprawling House seats.

California’s redistricting process left its Sacramento-area 3rd Congressional District open after the area’s previous district held by Rep. Tom McClintock was split in two and the longtime Republican lawmaker chose to seek the new 5th Congressional District instead. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report ranked the general election race as likely Republican, but without McClintock in the race, some Democrats see the district as possibly more competitive for them.

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The race included prominent California Republicans, such as Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones and state Assemblyman Kevin Kiley. The race’s more prominent Democrat was doctor and Navy veteran Kermit Jones.

The new district will stretch from the at-times snow-capped Sierra Nevada in Plumas County, northeast of Sacramento, and descend hundreds of miles along the Nevada state line, taking in Death Valley, the lowest elevation in North America at 282 feet below sea level.

Former President Donald Trump endorsed Kiley, citing his criticisms of California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Kiley, a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, was a candidate for governor in the unsuccessful 2021 recall attempt against Newsom. Though Kiley earned only 3.5% of the vote, he gained significant name recognition.

“He doesn’t wait for the fight, like the do-nothing RINO’s who have watched California get absolutely destroyed by the radical maniacs in Sacramento,” Trump said in a statement last month.

In the campaign, Scott Jones emphasized his law enforcement background and opposition to those seeking to “defund the police.”

Kermit Jones said on social media that he ran for Congress to address the rising cost of healthcare and prescription drugs.

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Polling of the race was sparse, but Kiley and Kermit Jones raised and spent more funds than Scott Jones.

Under California state law, candidates for offices designated as “voter-nominated,” including House races, are all listed on one ballot regardless of party, and the two top vote-getters then go on to the general election, which creates the possibility of general election voters facing a choice between two candidates of the same party.

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