WASHINGTON – California voters will cast ballots today in a series of crowded congressional primary contests whose outcome could foreshadow which party prevails in November’s mid-term elections.
Under the state’s jungle primary system both Democrats and Republicans run on the same ballot. The two candidates who receive the most votes then move on to the general election. That means it is possible two candidates from the same party wind up on the November ballot and effectively cancel each other out in districts where party registration is near or evenly split.
Democrats see the seats of retiring GOP Reps. Ed Royce and Darrell Issa as potential pickups. Hillary Clinton won both of their districts in 2016. Democrats are aggressively targeting five other Republican-held districts won by Clinton.
California’s Democratic Senate primary pits Sen. Dianne Feinstein against State Sen. Kevin DeLeon and thirty lesser-known candidates.
Recent polls show Feinstein, who has served in the upper chamber since 1992, leading DeLeon by more than 20 points. The crowded primary field increases the likelihood that DeLeon could be one of Feinstein’s general election opponents.
New Jersey and Montana will hold Senate primaries today.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) does not appear to have any series primary challengers. Polls suggest former biopharmaceutical executive Bob Hugin is favored to win the GOP nomination.
New Jersey is reliably Democratic. Hillary Clinton won the state by double-digits in 2016.
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) does not appear to have any serious primary challengers. The Republican field includes State Auditor Matt Rosendale and former Lt. Gov. Albert Olszewski.
Montana is a Republican stronghold. President Donald Trump carried the state by more than 20 points in 2016.
Tester has been critical of the administration and has drawn the ire of the president for work related to the investigation of allegations that led to White House physician Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson’s decision to withdraw his nomination for Veterans Affairs Secretary.