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Voters in Alabama, California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota head to the polls Tuesday, the biggest flurry of activity yet in an already contentious primary season.
The Golden State will be at the center of the action where competitive primaries and the state's "jungle primary" system have combined to create a uniquely challenging set of circumstances for both parties.
California's "top two" primary system where candidates of all parties compete against each other on one ballot has created the prospect of Democratic lockouts in key U.S. House seats up and down the state in districts they'll need to win in November if they want to make their dream of retaking the chamber a reality.
Other marquee races include a liberal challenge to longtime Democratic incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein and a crowded field of high-profile Californians hoping to become the next governor of the nation's largest state.
Key races in the other seven states voting Tuesday include the GOP primary to see who will take on Democratic incumbent Sen. Jon Tester, Democratic primaries in several New Jersey U.S. House districts that will be key to the party's hopes of recapturing the majority in Congress' lower chamber, and a governors race in New Mexico that will likely feature two sitting members of Congress.
Polls close in California at 11 pm EST, in Iowa and Montana at 10 pm EST, in New Mexico and South Dakota at 9 pm EST, and in Alabama, Mississippi and New Jersey at 8 pm EST.
8:45 p.m. – Over 100,000 Los Angeles County voters left off polling place rosters
The polls don’t close in California for over two hours, but some voters are already dealing with a major snafu on Election Day.
According to ABC affiliate KABC, thousands of voters in Los Angeles County arrived at their designated polling places Tuesday only to find that their names were not on the list.
The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder's Office says that the issue was brought to officials' attention and poll workers are tracking the occurrences. The error stems from an apparent "random drop off" during the printing of the rosters, according to officials.
A total of 1,530 voting locations were affected, and 118,522 voters' names were omitted from the lists, officials confirmed in a press release.
8:20 p.m. - In California's battleground districts, Republicans take lead in mail-in ballots
Turnout is key for both Democrats and Republicans in the three battleground congressional races in Southern California – and all candidates will tell you every single vote matters in a crowded race under a "jungle" primary system, ABC News’ Esther Castillejo reports.
Polls don't close until 8 PM PST, but if early turnout data is any indication, both parties have a long night ahead of them in Orange County.
Democrats and no-party-preference independents may be gaining grounds on the Party of Lincoln in California, but Republicans are still the party with the most registered voters in Orange County – and many appear to be heeding the call to vote early.
According to data compiled by Politics Data, Inc., a group collecting voter registration and turnout across the state, of the 202,869 by-mail ballots that have been returned in the 39th, 48th and 49th Congressional Districts here, 42.8 percent are Republican so far, compared to 36.21 percent of Democrat ballots returned.
Voters who haven't mailed in their ballots can still drop them off at polling locations across the districts, and candidates until late today were reminding voters they could do so.
8:00 p.m. - Polls close in Alabama, Mississippi and New Jersey
Polls have closed in two southern states, Alabama and Mississippi, and the state of New Jersey.
The Garden State is key to Democratic hopes of retaking the U.S. House in 2018.
The retirements of two Republican congressmen, Frank LoBiondo and Rodney Frelinghuysen, are two seats Democrats are eager to flip in November.
Republicans are also eyeing the state's lone Democratic-held district, the 5th Congressional District, represented by Rep. Josh Gottheimer.
Few races in Alabama or Mississippi are expected to be competitive in November, but one race to keep an eye on is Alabama's 2nd Congressional District, where incumbent GOP Rep. Martha Roby is facing a crowded Republican primary, and may have to win a runoff election in July if she does not receive over 50 percent of the vote tonight.
7:00 p.m. - Democratic congressional candidate Sam Jammal makes his last-minute pitch to voters
It's 4 p.m. in California, just a few hours before polls close, and in some corners of the 39th Congressional District, voters are still undecided.
That's one of the main takeaways from all the calls Democratic candidate Sam Jammal has made here today. Just now, there was a man who told him he's voting in a half hour and wasn't sure who to vote for.
"I'm trying to have that last personal touch with voters to make my case to them," he told ABC News' Esther Castillejo.
The personal touch includes his personal number – his cell phone ringing mid-conversation.
"Every vote matters, this is going to be a tight race I think for both parties, and it's largely because of the fact that we have so many candidates running that a lot of voters are still undecided," he said.
There are 18 people on the ballot in this district, all first-time candidates. While not all of them have been actively campaigning, it's fallen on the campaigns to educate voters. Incumbent Republican Ed Royce, who has represented the district for nearly 25 years, is not seeking re-election.
On the army of people running? Jammal sees it as mostly a positive thing, especially for Democrats looking to make ground in this traditionally Republican enclave in California.
"Obviously it would be easier from a personal standpoint if there were fewer candidates, but from the standpoint of we do need to build our infrastructure here as Democrats, I don't think it's a bad thing," he said.
4:15 p.m. - Catch up on all the key races at stake on Tuesday
California may be the key state to watch Tuesday, but primaries in seven other states across the country promise to provide crucial clues for both parties' hopes in the coming November midterms.
From Montana to Iowa, New Jersey to New Mexico, primary voters will decide consequential races up and down the ballot Tuesday.
Read in on all of the key races and storylines to watch here.
3:20 p.m. - Orange County joins Trump administration pushback on 'Sanctuary Cities'
Last month, the city of Costa Mesa became the latest in a growing number of cities south of Los Angeles in the Orange County, to officially oppose the state’s California Values Act. The state law expands protections for undocumented immigrants by preventing, in many cases, local law enforcement from holding people at the request of federal immigration agents. The law also limits some information sharing between local law enforcement and federal immigration agents about select inmates.
The local branch of the American Civil Liberties Union describes the law as designed so "no state or local resources are diverted to fuel any attempt by the federal government to carry out mass deportations."
Half a dozen local governments in the Orange County area have taken legal action against the state over the issue.
ABC News' MaryAlice Parks reports.
2:45 p.m. - South Dakota Democrat with a unique backstory eyes the governor's mansion
Some 47 percent of all registered voters in South Dakota are Republicans, and in raw numbers, they outnumber Democrats by nearly 100,000 voters according to registration data from the secretary of state.
But the political fundamentals of the state have not deterred Democratic state senator Billie Sutton from mounting an aggressive campaign to be its next governor.
Sutton, who was paralyzed from the waist down in a professional rodeo accident in 2007, is running as a moderate Democrat hoping to capitalize on what he believes is a hunger among South Dakota voters for a unifying figure.
"I’m sure there are some views that I hold that Republicans might not like. There are some views I hold that Democrats might not like. But at the end of the day the important thing to remember is we have more in common than not, regardless of party affiliation," Sutton told ABC News ahead of Tuesday's primaries in South Dakota, where he is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination.
ABC News' John Verhovek reports
2:15 p.m. - New Mexico Democrat hopes to be nation's first Native American woman in Congress
Deb Haaland — a Native American woman running for Congress in New Mexico — has never seen anyone who looks like her in elected government.
But if she wins in the 1st Congressional District Democratic primary election Tuesday, she might be able to change that, for herself and for Native American women across the country.
“In 230 years, there’s never been a Native American woman in Congress. I have never seen myself in that body of our government,” Haaland said in an interview with ABC News. There are currently two Native American representatives in the House — both men from Oklahoma.
Unfortunately, that lived experience can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy for some. “Ten years ago, when I was out in Indian country knocking on doors and driving folks to the polls, I never thought I would run for Congress,” Haaland acknowledged. But eventually, a desire to serve her community lead her to politics.
Haaland is running for the seat left open by Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is now running for governor.
ABC News' Cheyenne Haslett reports
1:50 p.m. - ANALYSIS: California’s ‘jungle primary’ has unintended consequences for Democrats
California’s once-touted “jungle primary” - which will be featured in the marquee races on Tuesday, when voters in seven states go to the polls - is following its own unusual laws. Foremost on that list is the rule of good intentions leading to unintended consequences, ABC News Political Director Rick Klein writes.
It’s a simple concept: Under the law approved by 54 percent of California voters in 2010, the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to the general election in every race in California.
Instead of Democrats and Republicans each choosing one candidate in separate primaries, the final two in each race could include two Democrats, two Republicans, one of each, or even one or two third-party candidates.
While this system has been in place in California since 2012, and while Louisiana and Washington state, have roughly similar ways of choosing candidates, it has never mattered like it could in 2018. This year, it could conceivably sway the balance of power in Washington.
Rather than tempering partisanship, it has sparked fierce intra-party warfare.
1:30 p.m. - Steady stream of voters in the city of Yorba Linda, California
It is 10:30 a.m. in California and a steady stream of voters - young and old - are making their way into a polling station here in the city of Yorba Linda, in California’s 39th congressional district, ABC News' Esther Castillejo reports.
A line — something uncommon here in a midterm primary election, and not seen since the district voted for Hillary Clinton for president and Ed Royce for Congress in 2016 — is forming just outside the room where just over a half dozen booths are set up for people to vote.
When the line is short, the whole process is done in an instant. But right now, the line is not short — and the “instant” process is taking closer to 15 minutes, as voters trickle in and out.
“All the people who didn’t vote last time are voting today,” said the polling station’s greeter, as a young voter asked for a sticker to show she voted before walking out into the overcast summer day.
Turnout will be key in this race. Here, 17 candidates are jockeying for one of the two spots on the November ballot, after Royce announced he’d decided not to seek re-election.
12:25 p.m. - In an attempt to retake the House, Democrats target a number of New Jersey House seats
New Jersey is a state where Democrats control both chambers of the statehouse and where the party has dominated in presidential elections ranging back to 1992. It spent eight years under the leadership of moderate Republican Gov. Chris Christie, but voters' embrace of Murphy's liberal campaign platform – which included calls for marijuana legalization and a $15 minimum wage – appeared to be a harbinger of a shift left for the already blue state.
As a result, Democrats, who already hold seven of the state's 12 congressional seats, are optimistic that they can dominate November's slate and push their number of representatives into double digits. The impending retirement of two New Jersey Republican congressmen has only served to increase Democrats' focus on the midterms.
ABC News' Adam Kelsey reports.
11:30 a.m. - Feinstein faces a challenger from the left
The top Democratic challenger to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has raised concerns that she doesn’t fully grasp the depth of Californians’ opposition to President Donald Trump.
Former California state senator Kevin de León is waging an aggressive challenge to Feinstein and is hoping to earn a spot on the November ballot over more than a dozen Republicans who filed to run for the U.S. Senate.
But other close watchers of the race say those interactions reinforced Feinstein’s reputation with California voters as a lawmaker who will represent their desires and, with senior perches on the Senate Judiciary, Intelligence and Appropriations Committees, someone with serious pull in Washington. Add to that the fact that she has the level of high name recognition that comes with 26 years in the office and her campaign’s war chest and she’s a tough candidate to beat.
“The idea that she’s not effective, influential and perfectly prepared to do this job is belied by everything we’ve seen in the last few months,” Bob Shrum, a longtime Democratic strategist and a political science professor at the University of Southern California, told ABC News.
ABC News' Ali Rogin reports.
9:02 a.m. - President Trump weighs in on key California primaries
President Trump took to Twitter Tuesday morning, urging voters to back a slew of candidates in various California races for governor and the U.S. House.
Trump also tweeted support for incumbent Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, who is not facing a significant primary challenger. The real action in Mississippi is in the fight for the state's other U.S. Senate seat - where there is no primary election and appointed Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith faces a November special election.
In High Tax, High Crime California, be sure to get out and vote for Republican John Cox for Governor. He will make a BIG difference!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
Get the vote out in California today for Rep. Kevin McCarthy and all of the great GOP candidates for Congress. Keep our country out of the hands of High Tax, High Crime Nancy Pelosi.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
Vote for Congressman Devin Nunes, a true American Patriot the likes of which we rarely see in our modern day world....he truly loves our country and deserves everyone’s support!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
Senator @RogerWicker of Mississippi has done everything necessary to Make America Great Again! Get out and vote for Roger, he has my total support!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
6:00 a.m. - The Note: The Note: Democrats threaten Democrats in Tuesday’s California primary
If there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing in politics, we’re about to find out — courtesy of the state that’s the de facto headquarters of “the resistance," ABC News Political Director Rick Klein writes in ABC's morning political newsletter.
Democrats’ biggest threat to a California sweep – which itself could be vital to hopes for a blue wave - comes not from President Donald Trump but from Democrats themselves.
Blame the state’s unusual all-party “jungle primary” system, or blame Democratic leaders for not being able to sort out intramural fights, or for not knowing enough about all the candidates running and what it all would mean. Either way, there are simply too many Democrats running for too few competitive seats going into Tuesday’s primary.
WATCH LIVE TUESDAY: You can watch livestreaming coverage of all the primary action starting Tuesday at 10 PM Eastern/7 PM Pacific on ABCNews.com or on the ABC News app available on the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, Apple TV App Store, and Roku Channel Store.
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