Trump sees ‘red wave’ af­ter se­ries of pri­maries

Oth­ers point to Demo­cratic wins

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY SETH MCLAUGHLIN

Pres­i­dent Trump said Wed­nes­day that talk of a Demo­cratic “blue wave” elec­tion is overblown and said re­sults from this week’s pri­maries sug­gest the coun­try might be look­ing in­stead at “a big red wave.”

An­a­lysts, though, said they weren’t sure where Mr. Trump is get­ting his num­bers. Democrats man­aged to swing a state Se­nate seat in Mis­souri, ap­peared to shut Repub­li­cans out of Cal­i­for­nia’s Se­nate race and got their own can­di­dates on the fi­nal bal­lot in each of the key U.S. House races in Cal­i­for­nia.

Repub­li­cans did man­age to get John Cox into the top-two runoff for Cal­i­for­nia gov­er­nor and said they were ex­cited about can­di­dates who won their pri­maries in key Se­nate races.

Mr. Trump led the post­pri­mary cheer­lead­ing by chal­leng­ing the pre­vail­ing wis­dom that Repub­li­cans are fac­ing a ma­jor head­wind.

“Great night for Repub­li­cans!” Mr. Trump said on Twit­ter Wed­nes­day morn­ing. “Con­grat­u­la­tions to John Cox on a re­ally big num­ber in Cal­i­for­nia. He can win. Even Fake News CNN said the Trump im­pact was re­ally big, much big­ger than they ever thought pos­si­ble. So much for the big Blue Wave, it may be a big Red Wave.”

The Re­pub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee sug­gested that Mr. Trump was look­ing at turnout num­bers that showed en­thu­si­asm for some of those Re­pub­li­can can­di­dates.

But Matt Bar­reto, a po­lit­i­cal science pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Los An­ge­les, and co-founder of polling firm Latino De­ci­sions, said nearly all of the reg­u­lar, spe­cial and pri­mary elec­tions have shown a surge for Democrats since last year.

“In ev­ery sin­gle elec­tion that has taken place since the Novem­ber 2017 Vir­ginia statewide, to ev­ery other spe­cial elec­tion, pri­mary elec­tion across the coun­try, the num­ber of Demo­cratic bal­lots cast has in­creased at rates far greater than Re­pub­li­can bal­lots cast as com­pared to 2014 midterms,” he said. “As you know well, [Mr. Trump] does not rely on any ac­tual data or em­pir­i­cal facts for his state­ments.”

Vot­ers picked fi­nal can­di­dates in races in Alabama, Iowa, Mis­sis­sippi, Mon­tana, New Jersey, New Mex­ico, South Dakota and Cal­i­for­nia last week. Cal­i­for­nia was the big­gest and most chaotic prize on the table.

Thanks to the state’s “jun­gle pri­mary” sys­tem, the top two vote-get­ters, re­gard­less of party, ad­vance to the gen­eral elec­tion.

Democrats feared a glut of can­di­dates in some dis­tricts would frag­ment their vote and shut them out of some races where they hope to cap­ture Re­pub­li­can seats in Novem­ber. But in ev­ery tar­get, they man­aged to get a can­di­date on the bal­lot.

“It’s clear that Democrats are in a stronger po­si­tion than ever to take back the House, and win­ning dis­tricts in Cal­i­for­nia will be cen­tral to that path,” said Tyler Law, a spokesman for the Demo­cratic Con­gres­sional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee.

Repub­li­cans also were locked out of the race to un­seat Sen. Dianne Feinstein Cal­i­for­nia Demo­crat. She breezed through the pri­mary and will face off against Kevin de Leon, a fa­vorite of lib­eral ac­tivists, who fin­ished a dis­tant sec­ond.

In the gov­er­nor’s race, Trump-en­dorsed Mr. Cox fin­ished sec­ond be­hind Lt. Gov. Gavin New­som, a Demo­crat, and both ad­vance to the gen­eral elec­tion, giv­ing Repub­li­cans a can­di­date atop the ticket.

In Mon­tana, Repub­li­cans were happy to see state au­di­tor Matt Rosendale emerge vic­to­ri­ous in the pri­mary race and move on to chal­lenge Sen. Jon Tester, a vul­ner­a­ble Demo­crat.

Re­pub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee of­fi­cials high­lighted news re­ports that sug­gested the anti-Trump surge that Democrats are bank­ing on this fall never came to fruition in the pri­maries.

They stressed that Demo­cratic turnout was down more than Re­pub­li­can turnout com­pared with 2016. They also said Re­pub­li­can can­di­dates com­bined for more votes than Democrats in six of the seven com­pet­i­tive Cal­i­for­nia con­gres­sional dis­tricts.

“The po­lit­i­cal pun­dits just don’t get what is go­ing on out there - or they do get it but refuse to re­port the facts!” Mr. Trump said on Twit­ter.

He sin­gled out Rep. Dana Rohrabacher for con­grat­u­la­tions af­ter the Cal­i­for­nia Re­pub­li­can beat back a slew of chal­lengers in the 48th Con­gres­sional District.

He was still await­ing word Wed­nes­day on his next op­po­nent, with Har­ley Rouda and Hans Keirstead locked in a tight bat­tle for sec­ond place.

Re­pub­li­can Rep. Jeff Den­ham ap­peared to be headed for a show­down with Demo­crat Josh Harder, a ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist, in Cal­i­for­nia’s 10th Con­gres­sional District. The race is con­sid­ered a toss-up.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Re­pub­li­can John Cox made it into the runoff round in Cal­i­for­nia’s gu­ber­na­to­rial pri­mary, giv­ing his party a boost in a year when Democrats are hop­ing to make big gains.

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