Right now, in three toss-up congressional districts, Democrats are struggling to win a place on the November ballot because they have many well-funded candidates dividing up the party base. Former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom advanced to the general election in the governor's race and will face Republican John Cox, who had the backing of President Donald Trump. Jerry Brown isn't who wins - it's who comes in second in Tuesday's primary, one of hundreds of contests across the state that could solidify Democratic dominance and reshape the fight for control of the U.S. Congress.
But Cox faces long odds in deeply liberal California, where Republicans are increasingly marginalized in state politics.
In the House races, Democrats are focusing on seven districts now in Republican hands that voted for Clinton in 2016 and could flip again this year.
Voters on Tuesday also weighed in on other statewide offices.
Chiang, the son of immigrants from Taiwan, would be California's first Asian governor. Neither party immediately appeared to suffer major setbacks.
California has some of the highest gas prices in the nation, and the tax, which went in to effect previous year, is a rare issue in California that seems to bring Democrats and Republicans together.
Feinstein won her party's nomination for another term, as widely expected.
Much of Tuesday's drama focused on women, including former federal prosecutor and Navy pilot Mikie Sherrill, who bested a field of Democratic rivals to replace retiring New Jersey Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen. The favorite of Washington Democrats will take on GOP Assemblyman Jay Webber in one of several New Jersey races Democrats view as possible pickups.
With the possibility of a Democratic wave on the horizon, Tuesday's contests will test voter enthusiasm, candidate quality and Trump's influence as the 2018 political battlefield begins to settle.
In South Dakota, Republican Rep. Kristi Noem won the primary and is now likely to become the state's first female governor.
In Iowa, 28-year-old Democratic state Rep. Abby Finkenauer was trying to become the youngest woman to serve in Congress. In New Jersey, incumbent senator Bob Menendez was re-nominated, but an obscure Democratic candidate who raised nearly no money and who had never held elected office, Lisa McCormick, received 38 percent of the vote.
"I look forward (to) watching the Democrats continue to nominate far-left progressives who are running to go to Congress to impeach the president and raise middle-class taxes", said Corry Bliss, whose Congressional Leadership Fund will spend tens of millions of dollars to defend the House Republican majority this fall. New Jersey Republicans hope to use Menendez's legal troubles to tar him and other Democrats like Sherrill across the state. And he's facing a well-funded Republican this fall, former Celgene CEO Bob Hugin, who coasted in the GOP primary.
Iowa, once a classic blue-leaning battleground state (it went for Obama handily in 2008 and 2012), is moving toward the GOP and particularly Trump because of its high concentration of conservative white working-class voters and its small minority population. "He will make a BIG difference!"
"The "top two" primary forces people to develop these complicated strategies that in another state would seem extremely unusual", Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles, told KABC. That allows the possibility of two candidates qualifying from the same party - and neither from the other. Ed Royce and Darrell Issa, which has opened the door to Democrat challengers. Republican voters had no obvious choice, and given that whoever advanced to November seems nearly certain to lose, it wasn't an election worth researching in depth.
And in Central California, the House intelligence committee chairman Devin Nunes, a Republican, qualified for the general election ballot as well. He also promised to oppose Trump's immigration policies, and has called for universal preschool, two years of free community college, an end to the cash bail system and gun control.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, most of the voters at Berkeley City Hall were dropping off ballots they had received by mail. She made the decision after the release of a 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape in which Trump bragged about grabbing women's genitals.
"I'm a newlywed, and I've been in the campaign my entire new marriage", Villaraigosa told his supporters. The swing is significant given the district in suburban Kansas City backed both Trump in 2016 and Mitt Romney in 2012.
The president "touches my heart", she said.
In Montana, Republicans will pick a candidate to take on Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, one of the most vulnerable senators in the nation.