California’s primary was a test run for November. It’s not looking good for Democrats.

POLITICO did an analysis of California primaries dating back to the advent of the “top-two” system 12 years ago.

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Come November, California Democrats better hope it’s 2012 all over again.

Republicans did well in that year’s vote, which was the last time the state’s “top-two” congressional primaries coincided with a GOP presidential race.

And just as in 2012, Republicans saw strong numbers in last month’s California congressional primaries. They outpolled Democrats in all but one of the 10 districts identified by the two parties as general election targets, according to results of the elections certified by state officials last week.

This isn’t just a California story, but the Golden State’s unusual primary system — it’s one of only four states that don’t hold partisan primaries — makes it a great test run eight months before the general election.

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Unlike in partisan primaries, voters of all stripes choose between candidates from both parties, and the results have historically been fairly predictive of the general election. The average shift by district between the primary and the general elections is less than a percentage point toward Democrats, according to a POLITICO analysis of California primaries dating back to the advent of the “top-two” system 12 years ago.

And California is already set to play a major role in determining which party controls the House next year. Unlike the next two largest states, Texas and Florida, California’s redistricting commission drew a map that includes more than a half-dozen competitive districts, most of which are held by Republicans, who are defending seats in places where then-President Donald Trump lost in 2020.

While the average shift over the past six election cycles is only modestly toward Democrats, the 2012 example stands out. Like 2024, Republicans had a presidential race to drive their voters to turn out, while the Democratic incumbent was seeking reelection. And after Republicans ran up huge margins in the concurrent congressional primaries, the average district swung by a whopping 5.4 points toward Democrats come November.

But there are also reasons to doubt that could happen again. Since then, California has implemented all-mail voting, designed to increase turnout. In the past two elections, it’s actually Republicans who have gained on average between the primary and the general election, according to POLITICO’s analysis.


While about 10 of California’s 52 House districts are competitive, five are at the center of the 2024 map. All are held by Republicans: Reps. John Duarte and David Valadao in the Central Valley, and Reps. Mike Garcia, Ken Calvert and Michelle Steel in Southern California.

These five GOP incumbents are among Democrats’ top targets anywhere in the country, but POLITICO’s analysis of the primary results found the party has a long way to go to knock them off. Combined, Democratic candidates captured 45 percent of the two-party vote share in four of the five districts, and garnered 47 percent in Calvert’s Palm Springs-based seat.

Applying the swing from the 2022 elections in each of these districts would result in a GOP sweep. The greatest primary-to-general-election swing came in Steel’s Orange County seat, where the Democratic vote share increased by 4.4 points — but that still wouldn’t be enough to oust Steel after Democratic candidates earned only 45.1 percent of the two-party primary vote last month.

In three of the districts, Democrats are relying on retread candidates who also ran in 2022. Duarte is again facing former state Assemblymember Adam Gray, whom he defeated narrowly, 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent. Former state Assemblymember Rudy Salas is pursuing a rematch against Valadao after losing by 3 points two years ago. Calvert will once again square off against Will Rollins, a former federal prosecutor, whom he defeated by 5 points.

But Democrats hope their two new candidates — former Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides against Garcia in the northern Los Angeles suburbs, and attorney Derek Tran against Steel — can improve the primary numbers.


After those core five seats, both parties are targeting districts that are best characterized as reaches: Democrats say they are seeking to oust Rep. Kevin Kiley in a vast district that stretches along much of the state’s border with Nevada, from the Sierra Nevada to Death Valley, and Rep. Young Kim in Orange County.

Click here to read the full article in Politico


  1. Just maybe the primary system will return if the Republicans continue to make serious inroads with the tip two.

    I just wonder if Slick would even come close after the devastating revelation that under his leadership RHNA and the multi billion dollar deficits have now proven to be very bad for the taxpayers AND the middle class and working poor.

    You idiots who vote Dem. have crushed this state and made it one of the top inflation states in the nation.

    Happy about that?

  2. Californians, ask yourselves if you are better off with the insane policies the Dems have enacted, from allowing accused criminals to go free almost as soon as they are arrested, spiking energy costs, crumbling infrastructure, the Central Valley bullet train to nowhere, rampant crime and out-of-control housing prices and homelessness. Those with critical thinking skills won’t worry about Palestinian protests and will vote to save the state from further decline and depravation.

  3. In SF if you are an Independent you cannot get one ballot showing all candidates, you must select before you vote to get either a Democratic or Republican ballot. Don’t know if this is true for the whole State.

  4. Carla Virga says

    Don’t be fooled. The Democrats had no reason to vote in the primary. They know who their presidential candidate will be.

  5. Stupid is as stupid does. The DNC will always vote their party even at the expense of WWIII. They have a one-track mind. Trump/orange man bad, wants to end woman’s body rights, racist, criminal and the list goes on and on. What I would remind them is Biden enriched his family by the millions by lobbyists from China and Ukraine thus the money flowing in by the billions and selling China all of our farmland. He has only interests in making his family rich at the cost of our country. Letting in 12 million illegal aliens for amnesty so he can be assured of a vote is criminal and he is the biggest racist of all. Just look at the 80’s when he belittled and attacked Judge Clarence Thomas, he and drunken Ted Kennedy had a racist heyday with him go watch if you can stomach. Not to mention he would never allow his kids to go to an integrated black school, not with those “animals”. It is all record and is disgusting. He is a sycophant, a leech of a sort who does not deserve to sit in the oval office let alone the White House. He is a senile, bitter, pedophile, hair sniffing, ignorant, bullying old demented and undeserving of leeching off the government teat for over 50 years. He is everything he claims Trump is except there is nothing that could convince me that President Trump LOVES AMERICA AND ITS PEOPLE! Go eat another ice cream and get the crap out of the WH because you defile it and everyone knows you aren’t mentally capable of changing your depends. Obama/Jarrett are and don’t be surprised when Michelle and Obama enjoy another stay in the WH even though it embarrassed Michelle. She should move to Cuba and see how she likes it there or perhaps Iran for all of the complainers of the billionaire elite.

  6. Is there any truth to reports that Steve Garvey owes back taxes? Not sure if this is State and/or Fed.
    This statement was reported in Sunday’s left-wing East Bay Times (Mercury News).

  7. Democraps are already getting their “DEAD PEOPLE VOTING ROLLS GOING”…..I saw a democrap walking through a cemetery writing names down of future voters for November…The facts are this “DEMOCRATS ARE THE SCUM OF THE EARTH AND NEED TO BE GOTTEN RID OF…

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