Takeaways from 2018’s Super Tuesday

Tuesday was the biggest primary election day leading up to the November 2018 mid-terms. From coast to coast, voters turned out for what had been cast as either a “blue wave” referendum on the Trump presidency or a reinforcement of it.

With primaries in eight states, covering everything from Senate, House and gubernatorial races to local referendums, both Republican and Democratic strongholds tended to hold serve.

Here are a few takeaways, however:

1. Democrats avoided being locked out of California House races, keeping alive their hopes of turning some of the red seats blue.

While not all of the votes are in, it looks like Democrats cleared the hurdles of making the Top 2 in CA-39 (where the top finishers were Republican Young Kim at 22 percent and Democrat Gil Cisneros at 19 percent), in CA-48 (where Democrat Harley Rouda currently has a 73-vote lead over fellow Dem Hans Keirstead for second place) and in CA-49 (where the top finishers are Republican Diane Harkey at 26 percent and Dem Mike Levin at 17 percent). Give credit to the often-criticized DCCC: Not making the Top 2 was a legitimate threat in all three districts, but they did what they needed to do to avoid blowing winnable contests in November. But it sure ended up costing money and resources for the Democrats. – NBC News

2. Women won the night and stand poised to lock in some historic firsts.

Tuesday saw Republican women like California’s Young Kim and Diane Harkey landing at the top of crowded House races. And in South Dakota, GOP Rep. Kristi Noem won her party’s nomination for governor.

On the Democratic side, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein easily advanced to the general election, while Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham won the gubernatorial primary in New Mexico. And Deb Haaland, a former state party chair, won the primary in the race to succeed Grisham. If Haaland wins the general election in November, which she is likely to do, she’ll become the first Native American woman to serve in Congress. – CBS News

3. Loyalty to the president continues to be key for Republicans.

If there was any doubt that the Republican Party was now the party of Donald Trump, Tuesday’s results in a deep-red Alabama congressional race should put it to rest.

Incumbent Republican Rep. Martha Roby came under fierce fire in her GOP primary for withdrawing her endorsement of Trump in the 2016 presidential race, after the after the Access Hollywood tape revealed his boasts about grabbing women by the genitals without their consent.

Those attacks took their toll, and Roby was forced into a runoff on Tuesday after failing to win the GOP nod outright. Her opponent will be Bobby Bright, a one-time Democratic congressman, who ran ads accusing Roby of turning “her back on President Trump when he needed her the most.”

Roby is the second Republican incumbent to stumble so far this election cycle. – USA Today

4. Controversy sometimes, but not always, leads to defeat.

Controversy is nothing new in the world of politics. Sometimes it’s the kiss of death. Sometimes not. Tuesday’s election had its share of controversial candidates. Here’s how it worked out for several of them:

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)

After a series of high-profile fights in which Rep. Devin Nunes gained national fame over the House’s investigation into Russian election meddling, the Republican incumbent collected 58% of the vote in California’s primary election with 97% of precincts reporting.

He will face Democrat Andrew Janz, a former county prosecutor, who as of mid-May had raised almost $2 million as cash poured into his campaign from around the country from those who want to counter Nunes. – Los Angeles Times

Judge Aaron Persky

The California judge who prompted a national outcry after handing former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner a six-month sentence for sexual assault has been recalled by voters in Santa Clara County.

With 43 percent of county precincts reporting, 59 percent of voters favored the recall of Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, 41 percent opposed the recall, according to The Associated Press, who called the vote early Wednesday.

Persky becomes the first California judge in 86 years to be recalled. – NPR

Rep. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.)

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.), whose indictment on criminal bribery charges ended in a hung jury earlier this year, won his primary Tuesday night by a smaller-than-expected margin.

The Associated Press declared Menendez the winner about an hour after the polls closed. With 85 percent of precincts reporting, the incumbent senator had won about 62 percent of the vote. – The Hill

Weighing in on the night’s results, President Trump took to Twitter Wednesday morning:

While the party of Trump did, indeed, rack up some wins, in many instances, Democrat turn-out far exceeded that of Republicans in key battles in New Jersey and New Mexico. The run-up to the November midterm elections is sure to be filled with spirited battles among Tuesday’s winners.

See complete election results here: BALLOTPEDIA


[Los Angeles Times] [Mercury News]  [Photo courtesy DonkeyHotey via Flickr]