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2018 Midterms

Midterm Primaries Picking Up Steam Out West, Down South, and Everywhere Else

Primaries continue to make history for women and some worries for states out West.

Duane Paul Murphy

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On Tuesday, June 5, eight states nationwide held their primaries for a variety of state, local, and federal elections as the November general elections approach voters. Many pundits, pollsters, and political party officials see these primaries not only as a rebuttal or a continuing support for the current Republican majority government, but also the ideological direction of both parties with establishment liberal centrists and grassroots progressive leftists competing inside the Democratic Party as well as mainstream conservatives and pro-Trump dueling it out internally in the Republican Party.

One of the most closely watched midterm primary races to watch was California, as multiple candidates from both parties compete to qualify for the general election this fall. Because of the state’s open-top two or jungle primary voting system, the ballot-qualified or write-in candidates who come in both first and second place in the summer primary will advance and compete in the general election this November. While Democrats in the Golden State have mostly avoided two of their own candidates or two Republicans from contesting in swing congressional races this fall, the party lost its supermajority in the state senate after state senator Josh Newman was recalled by the voters due to his support for a gas tax increase. State Republican officials and conservative groups are expected to get a ballot initiative signature qualified for November that would repeal the tax hikes if voted by a majority of the voters. Many provisional and mail-in ballots are still being counted for.

Like many recent primaries in the past few months, female candidates from both sides of the political aisle are making gains in various congressional districts. Republicans Diane Harkey, Young Kim, and Mimi Walters mad gains in the vulnerable suburban Orange County congressional districts whereas the University of California, Irvine law professor Katie Porter and Compton mayor Aja Brown are expected to compete in the general election since they came in second place.

In the rural West, Democratic state house representative Kathleen Williams may become Montana’s first female congressional representative since Jeannette Rankin and the first female Democratic congresswoman in the state if she defeats Greg Gianforte, who was charged for assault back in 2017 when he attacked a journalist from The Guardian. Democratic Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham will likely become New Mexico’s second female governor after current Republican governor Susana Martinez and first Democratic female governor in the state. Debra Haaland won her congressional primary and may become the country’s first Native American Congresswoman.

States like Virginia, Nevada, Colorado, and Maine will hold their primaries between mid and late June.

Duane Paul Murphy is a D.C. college student and student journalist born and raised in Southern California. Currently studying for his bachelor’s in politics and a minor in media studies, Duane Paul is interested in covering domestic as well as international political affairs that impact the lives of everyday people, whether they are young students, professionals, or faculty in higher education.

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