Today in Trump’s America: Democrats appear to avert disaster in California primaries


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Good morning from Emily Singer at Mic.

Here’s what’s happening in Trump’s America:

• California is still counting votes, but Democrats are breathing a sigh of relief as it appears they’ve avoided the nightmare scenario of being shut out of general election contests in competitive seats.

About last night: Democrats avert disaster in California

Democrats feared being shut out of general election contests in a handful of competitive House contests in California — which has a wonky primary system in which the two highest primary vote recipients advance to the general election, regardless of party ID.

Their fears didn’t materialize, however, as Democrats appear to have secured general election spots in every competitive district, with most votes counted. Getting locked out of general election contests in California would have thrown a wrench in Democrats’ quest to pick up the 23 seats they need to win a House majority in November.

Aside from avoiding lockouts, the candidates that national Democrats backed — either tacitly or explicitly — look to have won their primaries.

In California’s open 39th District, Democrat Gil Cisneros — a veteran and lottery winner who was backed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — appears to have made the general election ballot with 100% of precincts reporting. He will face off with Republican Young Kim in this seat, which is being vacated by retiring GOP Rep. Ed Royce. Hillary Clinton carried the seat by a 9-point margin in 2016, making this one of the top Democratic pick-up opportunities in the country. The race is rated a “toss-up” by the political handicapping outlet Inside Elections.

In California’s 45th District, Democrat Katie Porter appears to have advanced to the general election to take on GOP Rep. Mimi Walters in a district Clinton carried by 5 points in 2016. Porter, a lawyer and consumer advocate, was endorsed by Emily’s List, an organization that backs Democratic women who support abortion rights.

In California’s 48th District, DCCC pick Harley Rouda appears to have secured a spot in the general election with GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. With 100% of precincts reporting, Rouda leads Democrat Hans Keirstead by just 73 votes. Either way, Rohrabacher looks like he’ll be facing a Democrat in November in a district Clinton won by 2 points.

Rohrabacher himself had a poor showing in the primary, garnering less than a third of the vote — abysmal numbers for an incumbent. The Russia investigation may play big in this district, as Rohrabacher has been a defender of Russian President Vladimir Putin, leading to him being dubbed “Putin’s favorite congressman.” The race is rated “tilt Republican” by Inside Elections.

And in California’s 49th District, Democrat Mike Levin appears to have made the general election and will face off with Republican Diane Harkey. The seat is open thanks to GOP Rep. Darrell Issa’s retirement. Clinton carried the district by an 8-point spread, and the seat is rated a “toss-up” by Inside Elections.

Outside of California, there were other interesting contests.

GOP Rep. Martha Roby was forced into a July 17 runoff in Alabama. Roby was dogged by her declaration in the 2016 election that she would not vote for Trump after the Access Hollywood tape dropped. Roby got just 39% of the vote in a multi-candidate primary, a poor showing for an incumbent that makes her extremely vulnerable in a one-on-one runoff.

Democratic women fared well in Iowa.

Democrat Abby Finkenauer won the Democratic nomination in Iowa’s 1st District. She’ll try to oust vulnerable Republican Rep. Rod Blum in a seat rated a “toss-up” by Inside Elections. If she wins, she’ll be one of the youngest members of Congress at just 29 years old.

And Cindy Axne won the Democratic primary in Iowa’s 3rd District to take on GOP Rep. David Young in a district Trump carried by a 4-point spread. The race is rated “likely Republican” by Inside Elections.

In New Mexico, Democrat Deb Haaland won a primary in the state’s heavily Democratic 1st District. She is poised to become the first Native American woman in Congress.

In Missouri, Democrats flipped their 42nd state legislative district, with Democrat Lauren Arthur defeating Republican nominee Kevin Corlew by nearly 20 points in a special election, the Washington Post reported.

And back in California, Aaron Persky, the judge who sparked outrage in giving a lenient sentence to Brock Turner, the man convicted in the Stanford rape case, was recalled by voters.

Mic covered all of the primary results in a live blog that you can check out here.

And the rest…

Conspiracy theories: As primary results trickled in Tuesday night, Trump went on a Twitter tear once again bringing up “Spygate” — the conspiracy theory even Republicans have knocked down. But he went a step further Tuesday, tweeting about a theory on “Spygate” that Politico’s Kyle Cheney says appears to have been started on the website Reddit.

You’re fired: Kelly Sadler, the White House communications aide who came under fire after making a mean-spirited joke about GOP Sen. John McCain, is no longer on staff, the White House announced Tuesday night. “Kelly Sadler is no longer employed within the executive office of the President,” Raj Shah, the White House principal deputy press secretary, said in a statement.

The best people: The Secret Service on Tuesday arrested a contractor for the National Security Council, who had a warrant out for his arrest for an attempted murder charge, ABC News reported.

No rest for the weary: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday he’s canceling three weeks of August recess. McConnell’s move appears to be an effort to keep vulnerable Democratic senators facing re-election in states Trump won off the campaign trail. But it’s unclear how much impact that move will have. And, for what it’s worth, McConnell also announced he was cancelling some of the August recess last year, but he let senators leave town early anyway.

Lip-sync gone wrong: Trump didn’t appear to know the words to “God Bless America” during an event to celebrate patriotism. Trump held the event instead of hosting members of the Philadelphia Eagles to celebrate their Super Bowl win, unfairly blaming the cancellation on the national anthem controversy he has ginned up. Trump said he’d allow 1,000 Eagles fans to attend the event at the White House, but it appears there were very few Eagles fans in the crowd.