CALIFORNIA, USA — Former President Donald Trump called Kevin Kiley a “conservative champion” who has “fought Gavin Newsom” like no one else, referring to Kiley’s efforts to recall the governor in an overwhelmingly failed bid in 2021.
“He doesn’t wait for the fight, like the do-nothing RINO’s (Republicans in Name Only) who have watched California get absolutely destroyed by the radical maniacs in Sacramento,” Trump said in a statement.
Trump said Kiley will be a “MAGA Champion in Congress and has my Complete and Total Endorsement.”
Kiley took to Twitter to offer thanks to the former President for his endorsement.
“In Congress, I'll fight just as hard against Biden and Pelosi,” Kiley wrote. “I'm truly honored.”
Sacramento’s tough-on-crime Republican Sheriff Scott Jones, who is campaigning for stronger border security, reducing crime and inflation, said he’ll continue to fight.
“While it's certainly disappointing, and a bit surprising based on my experience and strength on issues that are facing the country right now, my campaign has not changed and neither have the issues I have been and continue to fight for,” Jones said in a statement.
Let downs aside, garnering Trump’s endorsement has a track record of carrying weight in primary elections and will likely do the same in California’s newly drawn 3rd Congressional District, said California political expert Isaac Hale, an assistant professor at Occidental College and a post-doctoral scholar at the University of California Santa Barbara’s Blum Center.
“Well, I'm not gonna sugarcoat it for Sheriff Scott Jones. He should be disappointed,” Hale said.
Trump-backed Republicans have gone on to win all but one Republican primary election, Hale said. He said that’s because Trump often gives the endorsement to incumbents or those most likely to win.
“President Trump likes to be perceived as a winner, and he likes to pick candidates who he thinks he can push over the top,” Hale said.
Hale said there have also been examples of the Trump endorsement pushing some over the top in highly contested and closely fought races, such as in the Ohio Republican Senate Primary race of J.D. Vance.
California’s new 3rd Congressional District stretches from Placer County east to South Lake Tahoe, going as far north as Plumas County and down the Eastern Sierra to the bottom of Inyo County. However, a majority of the more than 760,000 electors in the sprawling voting area lies in the urban areas of Folsom, Roseville and Grass Valley.
Another top contender in the race is political newcomer Dr. Kermit Jones. He’s a moderate Democrat, a practicing physician and Navy Veteran. He’s running on a platform focused on reducing healthcare costs and reducing skyrocketing fire insurance costs while tackling risk.
He used the Trump endorsement as mud to sling at his Republican rival. Dr. Jones wrote on Twitter that voters have a choice “between a partisan politician who supports January 6th insurrectionists and a public servant who always puts country above party.”
“The national political environment is expected to be quite favorable to Republicans through this November,” Hale said. “I think that whoever, whichever, Republican advances to the November general election is heavily favored to emerge victorious come November.”