In California, Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown easily snagged a first place finish in Tuesday’s primary as he campaigns for a record fourth term as governor and a handful of establishment Republicans triumphed over tea party Republicans.
Brown will be challenged in November by Republican Neel Kashkari, a businessman best known for running the government’s Wall Street bailout program during the financial crash.
A tea partier, Tim Donnelly, came in third; but when he conceded he did not ask his supporters to support his fellow party member Kashkari, signaling establishment vs. tea party tensions in the state's GOP, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“I have nothing to say about any of that,” Donnelly told reporters when asked about his snubbing of Kashkari. “I kept it positive and focused. I made a phone call. I congratulated him on the results. And that’s it. I was never part of the political machine."
Brown’s approval ratings remain high and his campaign coffers are full—he has nearly $21 million in the bank, according to the Sacramento Bee. Though Kashkari promised to raise big bucks, but fell short of his own predictions and raised just $4.1 million including $2 million of his own fortune, according to the Los Angeles Times.
This is the first test of California’s new, open primary system, which allows the top two candidates to face each other in the general election, in an attempt to cut down on partisanship.
In California’s 25th district, the new voting law put one district that seemed to be competitive safely in Republican hands: two Republicans Tony Strickland and Steve Knight earned the most votes and will now challenge each other in the general election.
Many of the most contentious races in California were smaller, local races.
In California’s 31st district, the second place winner is too close to call. Republican Paul Chabot snagged a first place win, but it’s unclear whether the November race will pit him against a Republican or Democrat as a slim lead of just a few hundred votes separates Democrat Pete Aguilar and Republican Lesli Gooch. The district’s crowded race pitted Democratic groups against each other, with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Planned Parenthood backing Aguilar and EMILY’S List supporting Gomez Reyes, another Democrat who came in fourth.
EMILY’S List did see a win a few districts over, in the 35th District, where their candidate state Sen. Norma Torres advanced to the general election, where she’ll face another Democrat, Christina Gagnier.
Former Rep. Doug Ose gave establishment Republicans another win in this year’s primaries, when he triumphed over a tea party challenger with help from national groups like FreedomWorks, according to the Sacramento Bee. He will challenge incumbent Rep. Ami Bera for the right to represent Sacramento County is California’s 7th district.
An outsider Jim McDonnell, the Long Beach police chief, snagged 49% in the Los Angeles sheriff race, just short of the necessary 50% to avoid a run-off. The department has been rocked by the Justice Department accusations of unlawful searches, improper detentions and unnecessary force against black and Latino residents of low-income housing. McDonnell will face Paul Tanaka, who was recently revealed to be the target of a federal investigation. Tanaka earned 14% of the votes in yesterday’s race, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Elsewhere, two counties voted down secession measures while a third responded favorably, according to the Associated Press. Residents in more rural, conservative regions have said they feel ignored by the state leadership and have mulled secession for more than a century now, they added.
"I'm going to definitely talk to the people of Jefferson and tell them to stick around," Gov. Jerry Brown told reporters on Tuesday night.
A handful of important Republicans wins will signal that Democrats will have a tough fight ahead to regain their state Senate supermajority in November. They lost the supermajority earlier this year when a number of felony charges rocked their party and left two members on indefinite leaves of absence. The two members have refused to resign, even though one was convicted with eight felony charges and the other was indicted for corruption charges after taking an $88,000 bribe from an undercover FBI agent, according to the Washington Post.