California Democrats running in a number of key districts avoided being shut out of important November elections essential to their party’s effort to retake control of the House in November.
Democrats running in three GOP-held districts in Southern California captured second place, dispelling fears that a saturated electoral field might divide the vote among Democratic candidates, leaving only Republicans and Independents to advance as the top two vote-getters under California’s unusual all-party primary system.
Democrats running to replace Republican Reps. Ed Royce of Fullerton and Darrell Issa of Vista, who are retiring, will both advance to the general election; as will Democrat Harley Rouda, who captured second place in the contest to challenge Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher who represents Orange County, a longtime Republican stronghold.
The results are encouraging for a Democratic Party that hopes to regain control of seven House seats in the golden state as part of a broader strategy to win the House by flipping 23 seats.
Lt. gov. Gavin Newsom won the gubernatorial primary handily, earning the opportunity to take on Republican John Cox, a successful businessman who’s embraced President Trump. Newsom, a liberal favorite with strong name recognition in his home state, bested Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) also came out on top, setting up a contest with second place finisher state Sen. Kevin de Leon and likely leaving the GOP with no recourse in November.
Throughout the primary campaign, de Leon targeted the 84-year-old Feinstein for not being sufficiently aggressive in opposing the Trump administration, signaling he will likely continue to court California’s far left progressive wing in making the case for new blood in the upper chamber.