GOP tries to win key spot in California governor's race


California is notoriously slow at counting votes, and this year is even slower since for the first time any ballots postmarked by Election Day will be accepted. Results will be updated as they come in Tuesday night.

Coverage will be anchored by Tom Llamas, Kayna Whitworth and ABC News Political Director Rick Klein from California, with live reports from other primary states.

Holding hopes of a "blue wave" in November, Democrats fought to shape the political battlefield in primaries across eight states Tuesday, none more important than California and New Jersey where control of Congress may well be decided this fall.

Newsom announced his candidacy in February 2015 - more than three years before the primary - and has dominated the race in both the polls and fundraising ever since.

As of Monday at 3 p.m., more than 1.1 million mail ballots had been issued and 268,709 were returned.

In early votes, scientist Hans Keirstead (D) clung to second place behind Rohrabacher with 18 percent of the vote, with former Rohrabacher protege Scott Baugh right behind him with 17 percent of the vote and businessman Harley Rouda, national Democrats' preferred candidate, still clearly in the hunt with 16 percent of the vote with roughly half of precincts reporting (and the possibility that a tabulation error meant Rouda actually had more votes).

In New Jersey, Menendez earned the Democratic Party's nominee for a third term despite being tainted by a hung jury in his recent federal bribery trial.

In a record-setting year for female candidates across the country, Michelle Lujan Grisham won the Democratic nomination for New Mexico governor.

California's top-two system can punish a party with too many candidates in one race.

Watkins said Nunes' staunch support for President Trump has not harmed him.

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But Republicans have their own top-two primary nightmare scenario: the humiliating prospect of having no GOP candidates at the top of the ticket - the governor's race or the U.S. Senate race - in November.

He will face Republican Seth Grossman, a former city and county official, who emerged from a four-way contest. There are about 83,500 more independent voters registered in the state than there are Republicans.

Democrats have a 10-percentage point voter-registration advantage in the two-county district but Nguyen displayed her superior campaigning skills when she won by 16-percentage points over Democratic former Assemblyman Jose Solorio in 2014. Democrats: Sen. Bob Menendez (incumbent), community news web site publisher Lisa McCormick Republicans: Pharmaceutical executive Bob Hugin, construction company executive Brian Goldberg, and attorney Dana Wefer Why is this Race so Important?

If Republican John Cox wins the second spot on the ballot, his presence in the race could spur Republican turnout in November and possibly improve the party's chances in congressional races. "He will make a BIG difference!"

The only statewide race on the ballot in November will be the Senate contest. On the Republican ballot, Gov. Kim Reynolds is seeking to complete her first full term as Governor.

The key battlegrounds are seven districts, mostly in Southern California, where Hillary Clinton defeated then-candidate Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race, making the districts targets this year.

Rosendale has GOP establishment support, but that may not be a plus for Montana Republican voters.

In Iowa, there's a Democratic primary for governor, whose victor will have a shot at unseating Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Alabama, Iowa, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota also have primary races today.