This week’s election and race to 2024

Gov. Gavin Newsom had a very good night Tuesday. In addition to his own re-election and the re-election of his appointed attorney general and United States senator, his 2018 primary election strategy appears to have won victories for Democratic candidates across the country.

In that campaign four years ago, Newsom was the incumbent lieutenant governor in a contested primary, held under the state’s relatively new “top-two” system with candidates of all parties on the same ballot. Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat, appeared to present the toughest competition in a potential general election face-off.

The Newsom campaign spent money on ads that raised the profile of Republican businessman John Cox, who edged out Villaraigosa for the No. 2 spot on the November ballot.

Newsom defeated Cox by a massive margin.

This year, Democratic groups spent $51.5 million in Republican primaries, according to a calculation by Reuters. The Democratic Governors Association spent $34.5 million just in Illinois to defeat a Republican viewed as moderate, elevating a candidate seen as easier to defeat. The result: Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker easily won re-election on Tuesday. The DGA also spent money in the GOP primaries in Maryland and Michigan to help specific Republican candidates get to the general election and then lose.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent $2.4 million in the Michigan Republican primary to help John Gibbs knock out incumbent GOP Rep. Peter Meijer, who voted to impeach former President Trump over his actions on Jan. 6. On Tuesday, Democrat Hillary Scholten was projected to defeat Gibbs in a Democratic pick-up of the seat.

In New Hampshire’s Senate primary, Republican Don Bolduc won his party’s nomination with the aid of $3.1 million in spending by the Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic group, as some members of his own party warned that he was “too extreme.” Bolduc was handily defeated on Tuesday by Democratic incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan.

“All eight Democratic candidates who benefited from the strategy were projected to win their races as of Wednesday morning,” Reuters reported. “The results could provide a blueprint for the 2024 presidential election.”

The 2024 election campaign is now underway, and both parties have challenges ahead. Tuesday’s unexpectedly strong results for Democrats make it more likely that 80-year-old President Joe Biden will run for re-election, something that many Democrats quietly fear. On the Republican side, the defeat of many candidates supporting and supported by Trump will give cold chills to GOP incumbents running for re-election in 2024 if, as expected, Trump announces his candidacy for president in a speech scheduled next week.

As of press time, control of Congress remained unclear. Democrats appeared to have picked up one seat in the Senate, with votes still being counted in Arizona and Nevada. The Georgia Senate race looked to be headed for a December run-off election. In the House, the tally of Republican pick-ups stood at six, with many races across the country yet to be decided.

Many California races that could be key to the eventual outcome were too close, or too early, to call on Wednesday morning, with millions of mail ballots remaining to be counted.

It appears that the 2022 election did not change the political landscape very much, if at all. The 2024 election begins now

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