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Democrats, GOP locked in primary battles in 8 states Tuesday

By
Susan McFarland
Alabama, California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota all have primaries Tuesday, as voters decide match-ups for November midterms. File Photo by Molly Riley/UPI
Alabama, California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota all have primaries Tuesday, as voters decide match-ups for November midterms. File Photo by Molly Riley/UPI | License Photo

June 5 (UPI) -- Eight states will hold primaries Tuesday, as Democrats and Republicans position for the midterm elections that are now five months away.

Tuesday will be the busiest primary day so far this year, as voters in Alabama, California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota cast ballots in congressional and state races.

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Alabama

Primaries in Alabama include a contest for Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, who's seeking a full term after replacing Robert Bentley last year. Ivey is favored to win in a field that includes Huntsville, Ala., Mayor Tommy Battle, state Sen. Bill Hightower and preacher Scott Dawson.

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In Alabama's 2nd District, Rep. Martha Roby faces four Republican challengers including Bobby Bright, a former Democrat who Roby defeated for the seat eight years ago.

In TV ads, Bright has accused Roby of turning her back on the president. Roby un-endorsed then-candidate Donald Trump after the release of the Access Hollywood tape in which he bragged about committing sexual assault.

California

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The stakes are high in California Tuesday as the state's unconventional election system advances the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation, to face off in November.

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Democrats, trying to flip seven House seats, have numerous candidates in three California districts -- which could end up strengthening Republican numbers enough to capture both top spots.

Californians will also vote for governor among a field that includes candidates who were former mayors -- Antonio Villaraigosa, former mayor of Los Angeles, and Gavin Newsom, California's lieutenant governor since 2011 and former mayor of San Francisco.

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San Diego businessman John Cox is considered the strongest contender in the race, which includes more than 20 others vying for the spot.

Results in California could take days or even weeks to determine due to mail-in ballots, which can arrive up to three days after election day. Other delays may occur as officials verify ballots from voters who are allowed to register on election day and cast a provisional ballot.

Iowa

Democrat Fred Hubbell, chairman of the former Iowa Power Fund, is the party's front-runner to challenge Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds in November, according to the Des Moines Register. But Hubbell may have lost some early votes to state Sen. Nate Boulton before he dropped out of the race amid sexual misconduct allegations.

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In Iowa's 1st District, four Democrats led by state Rep. Abby Finkenauer are vying for the chance to challenge conservative Republican Rep. Rod Blum. In the 3rd District, three Democrats face Rep. David Young and Pete D'Alessandro, who led Bernie Sanders' 2016 caucus campaign in the state.

Mississippi

No serious contenders face Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, who expected a tough race against conservative challenger Chris McDaniel. But McDaniel switched races and instead decided to run for the spot vacated by Sen. Thad Cochran, who stepped down from his seat in the spring. McDaniel almost unseated Cochran in 2014.

Montana

Millions of dollars are being spent in the Senate race to elect a Republican challenger to Sen. Jon Tester. Tester, a Democrat who has been in office since 2007, is the ranking member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

Tester does not have a Democratic primary challenger but four Republicans are facing off for the chance to contest his seat in November. Those candidates include Montana state auditor Matt Rosendale, the candidate conservative groups are spending millions to boost, and retired state Judge Russ Fagg.

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New Jersey

Republicans hold five of New Jersey's 12 congressional seats. In the 2nd District, Republican Rep. Frank LoBiondo is retiring and conservative Democrat Jeff Van Drew and progressive challenger Tanzie Youngblood are looking to fill it.

Business executive Bob Hugin is expected to win the Republican senate primary, CNBC reported. He would likely then run against Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat whose image was tarnished in April after the Senate ethics committee admonished him for accepting gifts. Menendez is also expected to win his primary Tuesday.

New Mexico

Democrats want to take the 2nd District, the only Republican-held seat in New Mexico's congressional delegation. The district covers most of the southern part of the state. Attorney Xochitl Torres Small will face Coast Guard veteran Madeline Hildebrandt in the Democratic primary.

Republican Yvette Herrell, endorsed by the New Mexico Republican Party, will challenge former chairman Monty Newman for the GOP spot in the November election.

Rep. Steve Pearce, a House Freedom Caucus member, is giving up the seat to run for governor.

Incumbent Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich and Republican Mick Rich are running unopposed in their primaries for one of the state's two Senate seats.

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South Dakota

Republican Rep. Kristi Noem is vying to become the first female governor of South Dakota, as incumbent GOP Gov. Dennis Daugaard is term limited. The Republican primary is close, with polls showing a single percentage point separating Noem and state attorney general Marty Jackley.

Former public utilities commissioner Dusty Johnson, Secretary of State Shantel Krebs and state Sen. Neal Tapio are competing to be the GOP candidate in the race for South Dakota's only House seat.

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