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As ballots are still being counted, candidates in close races are hopeful

Democratic incumbents are moving on to November.

SAN DIEGO — The primary election is still not over, as some big races have yet to be called.

Experts say the obvious takeaway though is that California is still a very blue state. It was clear right away with the first ballot result dump that democratic incumbents were moving on to November.

Does that mean they're also safe in the general?

"I think all of those Democratic incumbents that you saw getting 55, 56% of the vote and seeing no strong challenger getting out of the teens, I think they're all really safe in November," said UC San Diego Political Science Dean, Thad Kousser. "I think Governor Gavin Newsom can really focus on being governor, right for once kind of nod and get out of that constant campaign mode that he's been in the last couple of years."

Kousser said the most interesting race of the night was further down the ballot: State controller. Republican Lanhee Chen secured an endorsement from the LA Times Editorial board and is securing most of the votes.

"The question is, will his Democratic opponents be able to consolidate all of the democratic support and beat him?" Kousser asked. "Or will this be the first crack in the blue wall that has led every statewide officer in California to be a Democrat since 2006?”

Crime is one of the top voting issues in California, and the reason why the race for attorney general is also in the spotlight. Incumbent Rob Bonta is moving on to November, who is he running against?

Nathan Hochman is at 18%, and Eric Early is at 17%, but we’re still waiting on 50% of the precincts to report the remaining ballots.

"Rob Bonta, who was the appointed attorney general, really wanted to run against Eric Early because Early can be portrayed as extremely conservative, and they can tie him to Trump and things like that," Political Analyst Steve Swatt said. "However, the Republican Party has gotten behind the other Republican candidate (Hochman) who appears to be in the lead.”

Kousser added it’s a strategy that might need to be discontinued.

“Candidates are going to have to go back to the basics in November and get their message out rather than worrying about trying to choose the weakest opponent," he said. "They're just going to have to win elections on their merits.”

Kousser said if the AG race is extremely close, like that one percent we’re seeing now to run against Bonta, the losing campaign can request that there be a recount.

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