Published: Sat, June 09, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Democrats try to make a blue wave out of a ripple

Democrats try to make a blue wave out of a ripple

Progressive California lieutenant governor and former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom and Trump Republican John Cox took the top two spots in California's "Jungle Primary", which advances the top two candidates from any party to the final election in November. Cox's strong finish put to rest GOP fears that no Republican would qualify for the deeply Democratic state's top office this fall and the party's other candidates would suffer from a resulting lack of voter interest on election day.

Trump weighed in on the results Wednesday, tweeting "many more Republican voters showed up yesterday than the fake news thought possible", adding that the "Dems are easy to beat".

"We're engaged in an epic battle, and it looks like voters will have a real choice this November between a governor who's going to stand up to Donald Trump and a foot soldier in his war on California", said Newsom.

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/NewscomThese days, it's accepted wisdom that-after 20 years of political and demographic changes-California is a one-party state and that Republicans can do well only in a narrowing group of legislative and local races.

In California's "top-two" system for primaries, the two candidates who receive the first and second highest numbers of votes advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation.

Women Democrats won spots on the November ballot in key House races in Iowa, New Jersey, Montana and New Mexico, continuing a trend that began earlier this year.

No state offers Democrats more opportunities to gain House seats this fall than California, where more than a half-dozen Republican-held seats might be in play.

Democratic incumbents, such as US Senator Dianne Feinstein, fared well, fending off challenges from the left.

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Several results were encouraging for Inland Empire Republicans seeking to keep a once-red region from turning full blue.

Much of Tuesday's drama focused on women, including the former federal prosecutor and Navy pilot Mikie Sherrill, who bested a field of rivals in New Jersey for the Democratic nomination to replace the retiring Republican Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen.

BEN NORTON: With the results in, however, it appears those fears were exaggerated, and it looks like numerous key races pit a Democratic against a Republican.

Long-time California Democrat Sen. This turnout will make the governor's race competitive and could be the difference between winning and losing a number of House seats. "If we are to take back the House, we have to win multiple districts in California". Cox, a little-known Republican businessman who nevertheless came in second, has already been endorsed by President Trump.

"The worry is that with so many enthusiastic Democrats running for Congress, the Democrats will split up the Democratic vote and you'll end up with one or two Republicans in the top two slots", said Elaine Kamarck, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Brookings Institution.

In the 60th Assembly District, GOP challenger Bill Essayli finished ahead of Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes, D-Riverside, in a two-candidate race. By contrast, Cox is a study in obscurity; over half the state's likely voters don't even know who he is. Maloney won more comfortably in 2016, but the district swung sharply to the right-his was one of 18 districts Obama carried twice that went for Trump. Now, he is warning that Newsom should be careful what he wished for, openly, during a candidates' debate in San Jose: to face him or Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen, rather than another Democrat, in November.

He will face Republican Seth Grossman, a former city and county official, who emerged from a four-way contest.

California saw an unusually large number of Democrats vying for office, many energized by anger over Trump administration policies restricting immigration and abortion access as well as easing environmental regulations.

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