California in spotlight as USA voters cast ballots in primaries

JB Lacroix  Getty Images Antonio Villaraigosa attends the Human Rights Campaign's 2017

"I don't think there will be a blue wave at all", registered Republican Keith Smith, 66, said outside a Solana Beach polling place where he voted for Cox.

Indeed, the morning after the vote, Newsom replied to a congratulatory tweet from Trump to Cox with a snarky plea to the president: "Please come campaign for him as much as possible".

The president's support may have rallied the Republican base around the candidate, getting Cox over the primary hurdle, but the association might hurt in the general election where the Republican candidate needs to win over more moderate voters, said former Republican strategist Bill Whalen, a research fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution. At the same time, Republicans face the embarrassing prospect of failing to nominate any candidates in marquee races for the U.S. Senate and governor. After more votes were counted on Wednesday, the Democrats appeared to have avoided being shut out in almost all of the state's battleground contests.

In the end Feinstein survived and will be on the ballot for the midterm elections in November, results showed. Female Republican governors in Alabama and Iowa will try for their first full terms after succeeding men who resigned. But experts said recalls are politically and financially expensive and usually require unique circumstances like those that made Democratic state Sen.

Still, Trump was ready to celebrate. Even Fake News CNN said the Trump impact was really big, much bigger than they ever thought possible.

Democrats must flip 24 Republican seats to win a House majority. In retiring Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen's district, former Navy pilot Mikie Sherrill - one of the strongest Democratic recruits of the 2018 cycle - cruised.

Haaland has focused her campaign on progressive causes including fighting against new fossil fuel infrastructure while expanding the use of renewable energy; repealing the Republican Party's tax plan; enforcing a $15 federal minimum wage; defunding Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which she calls "an out of control institution that is terrorizing American families"; and establishing Medicare for All.

She would become the first female governor in South Dakota history.

Tuesday's drama extends into South Dakota, where Rep. Kristi Noem's bid to become the state GOP's first female nominee for governor has opened the state's only House seat.

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

Haaland said in her primary victory statement: "Donald Trump and the billionaire class should consider this victory a warning shot: the blue wave is coming".

Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker won his primary contest as did New Jersey Sen. Menendez probably won't put the seat at risk for the Democrats in November - one recent poll shows a close general election race there, but two others don't - but with another Democratic nominee who didn't have Menendez's baggage, the seat would be nearly certain to remain blue. And he's facing a well-funded Republican this fall, former Celgene CEO Bob Hugin, who coasted in the GOP primary.

Democrats were fighting to avoid similar potential calamities in California's many competitive House districts, considered critical in their quest to seize control of Congress this fall.

Republican Rep. Mimi Walters easily advanced to the November election in her Orange County district that has been targeted by Democrats.

And in Central California, the House intelligence committee chairman Devin Nunes, a Republican, qualified for the general election ballot as well.

The key battlegrounds are seven districts, mostly in Southern California, where Hillary Clinton defeated then-candidate Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race, making them targets this year.

In Montana, the establishment-backed Matt Rosendale, the state auditor, won the Republican Senate nomination; he'll face a slightly uphill but by no means unwinnable race against Democratic incumbent Jon Tester.

One America's Chloe Salsameda has more.

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