The United States continues to make its way towards the midterm elections later this year, at which time Democrats hope to retake control of one if not both houses of Congress. As the U.S. continues to get closer and closer to that time, more states are holding their primary elections deciding what candidates will be on the ballot in November, and one of the latest states to do so is California.
In California primary elections, any voter can support any candidate, and the two candidates to finish with the most votes overall advance to the general election. That means, of course, that either one of the nation’s two major political parties could have found themselves shut out of any number of California’s general election races going forward.
That’s exactly the fate that Republicans have met in the case of the currently underway U.S. Senate race in California. Democrat Dianne Feinstein is up for re-election, and she unsurprisingly finished first in the primary election held this past Tuesday. This November, she will be facing fellow Democrat and former state Senate leader Kevin de Leon.
Feinstein finished with 43.8 percent of the vote and de Leon finished with 11.3 percent. The third place finisher was Rep. James Bradley, who managed to garner 8.8 percent of the total vote. Behind him, the percentages managed by various candidates quickly go down; there were dozens of Senate hopefuls aiming to take on Feinstein. The closest Democrat behind de Leon Tuesday was Alison Hartson, who finished with 2 percent of the vote, which works out to just under 77,000 total votes.
Republicans in California met a better fate in the race to replace outgoing Governor Jerry Brown; former San Francisco mayor and current California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom finished first, with about one-third of the overall vote. He will be facing Republican John Cox this November, who finished with 26.2 percent of the vote. The third place finisher in that race was Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa, who finished with about 13.5 percent of the vote.
Elsewhere in the state, it was Democrats who were struggling with the disadvantage. Party aims to take seats held by GOP reps like the retiring Ed Royce and Darrell Issa could have been dashed if the many Democratic candidates made the left’s vote split enough to leave two Republicans on top. However, that’s not what happened in either one of those two districts, so Democrats’ chances at the seats are alive for now.
All of the races figure into the aforementioned larger aims of the Democratic Party to regain a measure of national power in the Trump era, a possibility that the president and his allies have continuously sought to downplay.
To that end, the president himself tweeted a message Wednesday congratulating advancing Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox, writing:
‘Congratulations to John Cox on a really big number in California. He can win… So much for the big Blue Wave, it may be a big Red Wave. Working hard!’
Whether or not the president’s denial of the reality of mounting opposition to his agenda holds true heading into November remains to be seen.
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