2018 Primary Elections: Eight States Voting Today

Voters in eight states go to the polls today with the main event focused on California where voters choose the top two candidates, regardless of party, who will face off in November. Californians call it the “jungle primary” which was instituted back when Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, was governor. Arnold thought that it would bring more moderates into office but that hasn’t worked out as he planned. California is now a deep blue state with Democrats controlling the vast majority of state and federal offices. Republicans have pretty much been relegated to third party status

In the culmination of the withered state GOP’s long slide toward near-political irrelevance here, new voter registration data released this week show the once-robust party trails behind both Democrats and “no party preference” in the nation’s most populous state. The California Republican Party is now outnumbered by independent voters by 73,000, according to Political Data Inc., which tabulates voter file data from county registrars. [..]

Among California’s 19 million registered voters, the latest statistics — as of 15 days before the June 5 primary — show that Democrats now make up 8.4 million or 44.6 percent of the electorate.

That compares with 4,844,803 no-party-preference voters, or 25.5 percent of the state’s voters and 4,771,984 Republicans, who both make up about 25.1 percent.

There is speculation by Republican strategists that because GOP voters turn out in greater numbers in off year elections it will help salvage their candidates. But in recent primaries, Democrats have shown up in droves at the polls. Plus the new push by the student activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland FL to get young people registered to vote is becoming a huge factor in turn out. Also the unpopularity of Donald Trump, his agenda and Republicans who cover for him is another catalyst favoring Democrats.

From Poltico, here are the eight states to watch:


Alabama’s primaries haven’t provoked anything like the drama of last year’s special Senate election. But Gov. Kay Ivey, who took over after former Gov. Robert Bentley resigned in a sex scandal, faces a crowded GOP primary for a full term. And Rep. Martha Roby faces a Republican primary from the man she defeated in the 2010 wave: former Democratic Rep. Bobby Bright.

If no candidate gets a majority in a primary, the top two contenders face off in a primary runoff on July 17.

First polls close at 7 p.m. ET. First results are expected at 8:30 p.m. ET.


The state has seven Republican-held congressional districts that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016, which are at the center of the national battle for control of the House of Representatives. And in three of those districts — the 39th, 48th and 49th — crowded candidate fields mean there is a chance two Republicans could advance through California’s all-party, top-two primary system.

A passel of Democrats are also competing to be the state’s next governor, though John Cox, the Trump-endorsed businessman, hopes to make it into the general election. And longtime Sen. Dianne Feinstein faces a progressive challenge from former state Senate President Kevin de León.

Polls close at 11 p.m. ET. First results are expected at 11:10 p.m. ET.


Democrats are choosing a nominee to take on new Gov. Kim Reynolds, who took over for U.S. ambassador to China Terry Branstad last year, as well as GOP Reps. Rod Blum and David Young, who occupy perennial battleground districts and have been top targets for House Democrats since they were elected in 2014.

If no candidate gets at least 35 percent of the vote in a primary, the nomination will instead be decided by delegates to that party’s state convention later this month.

Polls close at 10 p.m. ET. First results are expected at 10:05 p.m.


Sen. Roger Wicker was bracing for a difficult Republican primary last year, but former Sen. Thad Cochran’s retirement triggered a fall special election that absorbed Wicker’s toughest competition. The heavily Republican 3rd District is also replacing Rep. Gregg Harper, who is not running for reelection. If no candidate gets at least 50 percent of the vote in a primary, the top two vote-getters will compete in a runoff for the nomination on June 26.

Polls close at 8 p.m. ET. First results are expected at 8:30 p.m. ET.


State Republicans will choose a nominee to take on Sen. Jon Tester, one of five Democrats running for reelection in states President Donald Trump carried by double-digits in 2016. Rep. Greg Gianforte, who assaulted a reporter on the eve of his special election last year, is unopposed in his Republican primary, while six Democrats are running for the right to take him on in November.

Polls close at 10 p.m. ET. First results are expected at 10:25 p.m. ET.

New Jersey

Democrats hope to compete for nearly all of New Jersey’s GOP-held House seats in the fall, making the nominees voters pick Tuesday night more important than usual. Republicans also face primaries to take on Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez — who is running again after being indicted but not convicted on corruption charges — and Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a freshman Democrat in a district President Donald Trump won in 2016.

Polls close at 8 p.m. ET. First results are expected at 8:20 p.m. ET.

New Mexico

Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Republican Rep. Steve Pearce are running for governor. Pearce is unopposed, while Lujan Grisham faces a three-way contest for her party’s nomination, but both left behind crowded primaries in their congressional districts.

Polls close at 9 p.m. ET. First results are expected at 9:25 p.m. ET.

South Dakota

Rep. Kristi Noem and Attorney General Marty Jackley are competing for the Republican nomination to succeed term-limited Gov. Dennis Daugaard, in a primary that has turned negative. Noem’s campaign means that South Dakota’s lone congressional district has an open race, which has drawn in three Republicans seeking to replace her.

First polls close at 8 p.m. ET. First results are expected at 9:15 p.m. ET.