Republicans held their own in the primary, but it's uphill to November

Geneva Stokes
June 8, 2018

The November gubernatorial election is set in a midterm-election context perceived as a referendum on President Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress. John Cox is endorsed by President Trump while Gavin Newsom is a vocal member of the Trump resistance.

Because of California's unusual primary system, all candidates appear on a single primary ballot, with the top two vote-getters regardless of party advancing to the November election. When the Democrats took over, they passed a gasoline tax and now California has the highest gasoline price in the nation and we just recalled a state senator and elected a Republican, Ling-Ling Chang.

Californian voters took to the polls on Tuesday, June 5 for one of the most closely watched primaries leading up to the 2018 midterm elections.

They are two candidates with a very different vision.

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. Democrats need to pick up 23 seats nationwide to retake the House. It's not clear yet if a Republican earned enough votes to oppose her in November.

Much of the day's drama focused on women, who fought to make history in some cases and to avoid disaster in others.

Incumbent Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds ran unopposed in her party's primary and will face Democrat Fred Hubbell, who cruised to his party's nomination Tuesday with 55 percent.

In California, national Democrats spent more than $7 million trying to curb and fix the damage inflicted by Democrats attacking each other in districts opened by retiring Republican Reps.

Apart from California, voters also cast ballots Tuesday in Alabama, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota.

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If Grisham wins, she would be the state's second Latino state executive.

Another possible female first in New Mexico: Deb Haaland won the Democratic primary for the state's 1st Congressional District.

President Trump said Wednesday that talk of a Democratic "blue wave" election is overblown and said results from this week's primaries suggest the country might be looking instead at "a big red wave".

Republicans have been in a tailspin for years in California, where a diversifying population has grown increasingly Democratic in its leanings. Each enjoyed fairly strong support from their own parties, garnering over half of the votes.

Lawmakers voted to put the measure on the ballot past year when they passed the gas tax increase, which Republicans want to repeal through a separate ballot initiative in November.

Belatedly, the Democratic congressional campaign apparatus interceded with big wads of money to knock down Republicans and pump up favored Democrats, and it paid off. Republicans won't have locks on any of the districts, and there will be conventional Democrat vs.

Republicans may have placed second in a number of statewide races this time, but if recent trends continue, that merely forestalls defeat in November.

In the contested congressional races, the heavy spending from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and other aligned groups helped to keep their candidates from getting locked out of the November ballot. Since Trump first took office early previous year, Newsom has dedicated his work to counteracting Trump's policies on everything from immigration to legal weed, running his campaign under the purposely antagonistic tagline, "Resistance With Results". According to NBC, Trump's approval has been inching up among Trump voters, Republicans, rural voters and whites. Challenging Roby will be Bobby Bright, a former Democrat who has since found success aligning himself with President Trump and the right side of the aisle.

A key Senate race took shape in the heart of Trump country as well. Jon Tester, a vulnerable Democrat. And for the second consecutive election, there will be no Republican on the U.S. Senate ballot in the fall, after Sen.

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