California Primary: Big Night for Republicans as John Cox Qualifies for November Ballot

John Cox 1Republican businessman John Cox has been projected as the second-place finisher in the California primary for governor, securing a slot at the top of the ticket on the November ballot and lifting GOP hopes to retain Congress.

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The major news networks made the call with just a small percentage of the vote counted, thanks to a surprisingly strong result from Cox, who far out-performed his poll numbers.

With just 17.2% of precincts partially reporting as of 10:04 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, Cox had 26.0% of the vote, behind Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 35.1% and far ahead of former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s 11.1%, as well as conservative Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), who had 10.9%.

The final RealClearPolitics average of polls had Cox at just 17.5%.

Cox appears to have benefited from an endorsement from President Donald Trump. He also spent heavily in the early months of the race, boosting his name recognition and convincing observers he was the GOP’s only hope. Newsom’s campaign also boosted Cox, fearing an expensive battle against Villaraigosa in the general election.

The gubernatorial race was once thought to be a guaranteed all-Democrat fight between Newsom and Villaraigosa. Under California’s “top two” or “jungle” primary system, the top vote-winners in the primary advance, regardless of party. The conventional wisdom was that Villaraigosa would turn out the Latino vote and surpass any GOP rivals. Special interests began placing multimillion-dollar bets on that outcome, using the Newsom-Villaraigosa race as a proxy for a battle over school reform, for example. Democrats hoped that race would boost down-ticket candidates.

But Republicans, led by Allen and others, began organizing a statewide effort to put a repeal of California’s new gas tax on the November ballot. Then Attorney General Jeff Sessions arrived in Sacramento in early March, armed with a federal lawsuit against California’s new “sanctuary state” laws. That inspired conservative activists to mount a revolt against those laws in local governments throughout Southern California. Cox and Allen saw their polls rise.

With a Republican now competing in the most important statewide election, the GOP believes it can turn out its vote in November and protect vulnerable members of Congress in districts that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. That, in turn, will make it much more difficult for Democrats to pick up the 23 seats they need nationwide to win back control of the U.S. House of Representatives and to put former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) back in power.

Villaraigosa struggled to gain traction in the polls. He was also hurt by errors in the voter rolls in L.A. County, which accidentally excluded nearly 120,000 people, many of whom had to cast provisional ballots, and some of whom may not have been able to vote at all. Villaraigosa called on officials to extend voting through Friday.

Republicans appeared to qualify for the general election in several other statewide races, but not for insurance commissioner, where former Republican Steve Poizner won the primary as a “no party preference” candidate. The race for second in the primary for U.S. Senate was neck-and-neck between Republican James Bradley and State Sen. Kevin de Léon (D-Los Angeles); incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) came in first place easily.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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  1. Anyone who wants to get rid of the high gas taxes & increase in State taxes or doesnt want open borders better vote for Cox in Nov. Gavin is going to continue Browns thievery of tax payers. He will also have open borders like Brown AND allow illegal aliens to vote so that they will take over Calif forever. Like Brown he will give Amnesty to illegals especially because of their votes? Vote Cox in November!! If u want Cali back! Make California the Golden State again??

    • Cox is a transplant from Illinois. Did you bother to research him before you voted for him? Those pesky little facts get in the way of your celebration? He’s a RINO and you voted for him?! He ENSURES Newsom a landslide win. Well done.

      • showandtell says

        Many of us gave a lot of money, time, and energy supporting Travis Allen. I’m disappointed but ready to move on. I know I will now be happily voting for John Cox. Thank goodness we are not stuck with the nightmare choice between Villaraigosa and Newsom. Weren’t you even a little bit relieved to see that Cox had made the runoff? Let’s stick together and look at the big picture now. I contend that Newsom is not an inevitability AT ALL as Friends of Newsom have been constantly repeating like some kind of a hypnotic mantra.

  2. left the stupid state–it can go to hell–Trump needs to get rid of elf ears sessions and put muleer in jail–what good are tax cuts when franken mueller has soaked taxpayers for more than 16 million so far

  3. Mr. Pickle says

    Newsom has made clear he wants SINGLE PAYER medical. That alone could bankrupt “Kalifornia” as the Republic of Socialist State of Ca……..

    This guy is scary and must NOT be Jerry Brown II, only worse with his radical liberal, damn the costs, attitude……….. Your financial future is at stake here folks…….. Good news in Amador County, as they threw out the liberal Dem Morgan off the BOS. 🙂 This was part of the Red tide….

  4. Brenda Torres says


  5. Donald J. says

    With the Progressive/Socialist State of Cali the fear of the majority on the system one way or another is a safe bet that Moonbeam’s bath house buddy will get elected in a landslide. Common sense does not prevail with at least 51% of the population there (notice I did not say citizens).

  6. Boris Badenov says

    You don’t know expensive until it’s FREE…Gavin Newsom’s campaign slogan. He’ll take his cues from Nancy. I ❤️ MS13, buy your tee shirt now from GavinNewsomGovernor.con

  7. It was a big LOSS for conservatives last night as the uneducated voter cast his vote for that RINO Cox. Cox is a transplant from Illinois where he lost several elections. This state is going to hell. The new water rationing bill is outrageous and illegal. I’m done. I’m so sick of this.

    • showandtell says

      Don’t you think we’re all fed up? I certainly am. But if we’re smart we’ll use every last bit of the current CA Dem leadership’s insanity to galvanize voters. If you look at the election results you can see we’re heading in the right direction. There are reasons to be very hopeful.

      I even saw an article posted yesterday over at (a great site that complements this one) where in San Francisco — a place so wedded to Gavin Newsom it’s like a gift to us — Dems are looking to vote Republican because the city has become so over-the-top scummy and disgusting and impossible to live in…. or even visit.
      Just found the link; it’s an article from the NY Times, no less:
      “Troubles in San Francisco push some voters to think Republican”

  8. Samuel WOng says

    I did not hold my nose when Arnold ran … because I did not vote for him… look what happened to Calif because of Arnold. I will NOT hold my nose for Cox either…

  9. CaliExpat says

    Too bad we couldn’t get Tom McClintock to run this time…

    Oh well, anybody over Newsom…Let’s get Kimberly Guilfoyle involved with Cox’s campaign…

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