California dominated the night, but take a look at New Jersey and Montana…
June 5 was the most important primary night for 2018 with a handful of states hitting the polls. Most eyes stayed on California since the state has a crazy jungle primary, which means the top two candidates will land on the ballot even if they’re in the same party.
It looks like the important House races in California remain undecided and we won’t have an answer for days, which means the GOP could still shut out Democrats in those districts. The Democrats also had a huge blow on the governor’s ballot as a Republican grabbed the second spot over a former Los Angeles mayor.
What about other states? Here are a few key points I put together from a crazy night.
I mentioned the key House races earlier, but let’s look at the governor’s race, which ended up with a Democrat vs. Republican. Favorite Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom took the the top spot in the primary while Republican John Cox secured his place on the ballot after he coasted past former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
This came as a shock to many, but Villaraigosa could not “recapture the magic that led to his two terms as mayor of Los Angeles” or gain enough support from “Latinos, moderates and lower-income Californians.”
Real estate investor Cox hails from Illinois where he ran for the House and Senate, but never made it to the primary. He spent $5 million into this election, but his name really took off after President Donald Trump tweeted support for him.
Now for the House races. The closely watched ones in Districts 39, 48, and 49 may not have the results for days and maybe even a week or two. From CNN (emphasis mine):
As of early Wednesday morning, CNN projected that in California’s 49th District, where Rep. Darrell Issa is retiring, one Democrat will advance to the general election, avoiding a shutout for the party.
CNN projected that Rep. Dana Rohrabacher will advance to the general election in California’s 48th District and former California State Assemblywoman Young Kim will advance in California’s 39th District. It’s unclear who their challengers will be. There is still a possibility Democrats could be locked out in these districts.
Election officials still must count huge numbers of vote-by-mail and provisional ballots. A printing error in Los Angeles County that left 118,000 voters off the roster created further suspense — particularly in California-39, which is represented by retiring Congressman Ed Royce.
Even if Democrats avoid a shut out in November in those three races, they still have to face a Republican in November.
CNN didn’t mention the 10th district, which is another seat the Democrats want to flip. Incumbent Jeff Denham came out on top, but Democrat challenger Josh Harder is barely holding onto second over Republican Ted Howze.
To the shock of no one, incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein coasted to the top of the Senate primary with 43.9% of the vote. HOWEVER!!! It looks like Feinstein may have a Republican challenger in November since James Bradley is barely behind state Senator Kevin de León.
How about embattled incumbent Democrat New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez? Yes, he won his primary against Lisa McCormick, but it was too close for comfort. From NJ.com:
McCormick, a virtual unknown who did not report spending any money on the race, received the support of almost 4 in 10 Democratic voters.
While Menendez, D-N.J., was never seriously threatened with losing his party’s nomination for another Senate term, his performance wasn’t a good sign coming on the heels of his Senate Ethics Committee admonishment and a criminal corruption trial that ended in a hung jury before the charges were dropped.
“This is closer than we expected, but only because we expect huge margins for candidates with as much party and institutional support as Senator Menendez has,” said Matthew Hale, a political science professor at Seton Hall University. “In most places, a 60/40 win is considered a drubbing.”
Former pharmaceutical executive Bob Hugin won the Republican primary with 75% of the vote. Menendez may find relief that “200,000 more Democrats than Republicans went to the polls.”
I blogged last month about how Menendez held only a four point lead over Hugin in a poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Republican State Auditor Matt Rosendale won his primary and will take on Democrat incumbent Jon Tester in November, who is considered one of the most vulnerable since Trump dominated the state in 2016. From Fox News:
“The battle of the ox has finally begun, tonight we are one step closer to defeating Jon tester,” Rosendale said. “This is not a victory speech we have to earn that we have to go through to November and that’s when we will come back and give the victory speech.”
The upcoming race between Rosendale and Tester is expected to be under a contentious spotlight. President Trump vowed to make Tester pay for sinking his nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. Trump’s remarks brought an influx of cash to fill Rosendale’s coffers for his campaign.
“I’ll fight for more freedom and prosperity for all Montana, we need to send trump some conservative reinforcing that will end the liberal constriction,” Rosendale said.
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