Thu, Jun 07, 2018 - Page 1 News List

US Democrats hope for ‘blue wave’ in primaries


A man marks his ballot at a polling station in Santa Monica, California, on Tuesday.

Photo: EPA-EFE

Holding hopes of a “blue wave” in November, US Democrats on Tuesday fought to shape the political battlefield in primaries across eight states, none more important than California, where US Republicans avoided an embarrassing setback in the race for governor.

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newson, a Democrat, easily advanced to the general election, with business executive John Cox coming in second.

Cox’s strong finish put to rest fears that no Republican would qualify for the deeply Democratic state’s top office this fall and the party’s other candidates would suffer from a resulting lack of voter interest on election day.

The governor’s race was one of many drawing attention to California, a state not accustomed to being a national political battleground.

However, its handful of competitive races have made it hotly contested territory in the fight over control of the US House of Representatives, drawing big money and the spotlight on the biggest primary night of the midterms.

Democratic incumbents, such as US Senator Dianne Feinstein, fared well, fending off challenges from the left.

Neither party immediately appeared to suffer major setbacks, yet the winners and losers in California’s most competitive races could take days to sort out given the state’s unique election laws.

Due to California’s unusual primary system, all candidates appear on a single primary ballot, with the top two vote-getters advancing regardless of party. That allows the possibility of two candidates qualifying from the same party — and neither from the other.

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

Democrats need to add 23 seats nationwide to retake the House.

Feinstein won her party’s nomination for another term, as widely expected.

It was still unclear whether a Republican would earn enough votes to oppose her on California’s November ballot.

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

In Alabama, four-term Republican Representative Martha Roby was forced into a runoff election next month after failing to win 50 percent of her party’s vote.

She is to face Democratic former representative Bobby Bright in Alabama’s conservative second district, where Trump loyalty has been a central issue.

Roby was the first member of US Congress to withdraw her endorsement of the Republican president in 2016 after he was caught on video bragging about grabbing women’s genitals.

In New Mexico, Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham won the Democratic Party’s nomination in the race to succeed outgoing New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, a Republican.

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

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey fended off three Republican challengers, while Representative Kristi Noem became the first female nominee for governor of South Dakota.

In New Mexico, former state Democratic Party chairwoman Debra Haaland, a tribal member of Laguna Pueblo, won her primary and could become the first Native American woman in Congress if she wins this fall.

“Donald Trump and the billionaire class should consider this victory a warning shot: The blue wave is coming,” Haaland said in a statement.

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