Speed Reads

2018 elections

California, 7 other states hold key primaries Tuesday that will help determine control of Congress

Eight states are holding primaries Tuesday, the biggest single day of voting until November, but most eyes are on California, where the combination of crowded Democratic fields and California's top-two "jungle primary" system could shut Democrats out of three or more House races they hope to win to flip the House in November. California Republicans, meanwhile, face the risk of being shut out of the race for governor and U.S. senator.

Democrats are targeting 10 House seats in California, including seven in districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016, and they're most worried about fatally splitting the vote in three Orange County districts — the 39th, 48th, and 49th — with either a weak or retiring GOP incumbent. If two Republicans advance in a handful of those districts, it will be harder for Democrats to take control of the House. State and national Democrats have spent millions to prevent being shut out. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is expected to get the most votes and could face any number of candidates in the No. 2 slot, while Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will likely face either former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) or Republican businessman John Cox to replace outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown (D).

Alabama, Iowa, New Mexico, and South Dakota are also picking their gubernatorial candidates Tuesday, and there are competitive House races in New Jersey, Mississippi, and Montana. In New Jersey and Montana, Republicans will also pick their challengers for incumbent U.S. senators, including Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.), one of the Democrats facing re-election in a state won by President Trump.