Apart from recalled San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, Tuesday was a good night for incumbents in California as the Golden State’s top state and federal lawmakers cruised to primary victories.
Nine months after defeating a recall attempt, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom took home a massive 56.6% of the vote despite facing no fewer than 27 opponents in his non-partisan primary.
As a result of California’s top-two-advance system, Newsom will face off in November against Republican state Sen. Brian Dahle, who had garnered 16.7% of the vote as of Wednesday morning with half the expected ballots counted.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi received 71.4% of the vote in her newly redrawn 11th District. The second spot in the fall election was still up for grabs as of Wednesday morning between San Francisco Republican Party Chairman John Dennis, who had 12.4% of the vote, and Democrat attorney Shahid Buttar, with 8.5%.
Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla, who faced 23 primary candidates, also lapped the field with 53.5% of the vote. In the fall, he will defend his seat from attorney Mark Meuser, who as of Wednesday garnered 14.3% of the vote..
The GOP picked up a big victory in California’s 22nd House District, with former State Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway winning a special election to replace Rep. Devin Nunes, who left the House at the beginning of this year to work for former President Donald Trump’s social media network Truth Social. Conway will serve out the remainder of Nunes’ term before giving way to the winner of the November general election in the newly redrawn district.
In the primary for the new 22nd District, Republican Rep. David Valadao – who has been criticized for his decision to impeach Trump over last year’s Capitol riot – was lapped by Democrat Ruben Salas who earned 48.3% of the vote. Valadao was still narrowly favored to advance to the general election, as he received 25.6% of the vote with just 30% of the expected ballots in. Trump-aligned businessman Chris Mathys was in a close third with 19.5% of the vote.
Elsewhere, incumbent Republican Rep. Young Kim and Democratic challenger Asif Mahmood were on track to advance in the 40th District, beating out Republican former Mission Viejo Mayor Greg Raths, who made headlines last month after going on an anti-Semitic rant during a candidate forum. With more than half the expected vote in, Mahmood led the way with 39.8% while Kim had 34.3% of the vote. Raths was a distant third with 24.5%.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also advanced to the November general election in the 20th District, retaining 55.9% of the vote with 60% of the expected tally recorded. Trump endorsed McCarthy on Sunday, saying he was “working incredibly hard to Stop Inflation, Deliver Water Solutions, and Hold Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi Accountable for their catastrophic failures and dereliction of duty.”
Other Trump-backed candidates included incumbent Reps. Tom McClintock and Darrell Issa, both of whom advanced following their respective primaries in the 5th and 48th districts, respectively.
Another Republican incumbent to make the November election was Mike Garcia in the 27th District, who received 49.6% of the vote. He will face Democratic challenger Christy Smith, who garnered 35.4%.