ABC & CBS Relieved That Dems Won’t Get Shut Out of California House Races

On Wednesday, correspondents on ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS This Morning breathed a collective sigh of relief as they reported that Democratic congressional candidates had not been shut out of key House races after Tuesday’s jungle primary in California, in which only the two top voter getters, regardless of party, advance to the general election in November.  

“Now, Democrats in California appear poised to avoid getting shut out of key congressional races in November because so many Democrats were running in some cases,” Chief National Affairs Correspondent Tom Llamas breathlessly proclaimed on GMA. He further hyped: “This was absolutely critical, California, as Democrats seek to retake control of the House in the midterm elections.”

 

 

After explaining that the Democrats were focusing on congressional districts won by Hillary Clinton, Llamas declared: “They are still counting votes...but it looks like they will have a Democrat on the ballot in each of those districts in November. That’s very important for the Democrats.”

Co-host George Stephanopoulos only briefly mentioned that Republicans also had wins on Tuesday: “And I know Republicans were worried about getting shut out of the governor’s race.” Llamas acknowledged: “Yeah, that was really maybe the biggest headline last night....Republicans needed that, George, as you know, to attract their voters to the election in November for those down-ballot races.”

If that was the “biggest headline” why was it buried at the end of the segment?

On CBS This Morning, correspondent Ed O’Keefe reassured viewers: “Democrats feared a large field of candidates might overwhelm voters, creating a space for Republicans to win both spots, but those fears seem to have been avoided.” He then touted “the pivotal role California will play this November”:

Democrats need to gain 23 seats to take back control of the House of Representatives. With results still coming in, it looks like the Democrats made it on the ballot in all of California’s potential swing districts. That will help the party as it looks for pickup opportunities nationwide.

At the end of the segment, co-host Gayle King asked: “How are the numbers shaping up to you?” O’Keefe announced: “We at CBS project a toss-up still. You need 218 to win, right now we say Democrats will get 219, so they need everything they can find.”

Unlike on ABC, CBS did not mention Republican John Cox advancing to the general election in the gubernatorial race.

Despite all the media focus on Democrats supposedly enjoying “critical” wins, on Wednesday, The Washington Post warned: “Preliminary California House results don’t point to huge Democratic gains.” In addition, MSNBC Political Analyst Steve Kornacki took to Twitter to point out that the total percentage of the vote for Republicans surpassed support for Democrats in all of California’s battleground districts.

Of course those facts don’t back up the “blue wave” narrative that the press has been pushing.

The broadcast networks have made a habit out of cheering on Democrats after each round primaries, applauding a "pink wave" of liberal female candidates and hailing "history" being made following primary results in May.  

Here is a full transcript of the June 6 report on ABC’s GMA:      

7:07 AM ET

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We’re going to move to politics now and the biggest primary night of the year. Votes still being counted overnight in eight states, with the most critical contests in California. All the big jobs there on the ballot and a number of close contests there could determine which party will control the House come November. Our Chief National Affairs Correspondent Tom Llamas is tracking all the results from Los Angeles. Good morning, Tom.

TOM LLAMAS: George, good morning to you. And welcome to the jungle, the jungle primary, that is. Here in California, the top two finishers, regardless of party, advance in November. Now, Democrats in California appear poised to avoid getting shut out of key congressional races in November because so many Democrats were running in some cases.

This was absolutely critical, California, as Democrats seek to retake control of the House in the midterm elections. Now they targeted seven GOP-held districts which went for Hillary Clinton in 2016. They are still counting votes, as you mentioned, but it looks like they will have a Democrat on the ballot in each of those districts in November. That’s very important for the Democrats.  

STEPHANOPOULOS: And I know Republicans were worried about getting shut out of the governor’s race.

LLAMAS: Yeah, that was really maybe the biggest headline last night, George. Former San Francisco mayor and Democrat Gavin Newsom coming out on top. That was expected. He’s currently the lieutenant governor and he’s considered the favorite, but he will be running against a Republican with the blessing of Donald Trump, businessman John Cox. Now, Republicans needed that, George, as you know, to attract their voters to the election in November for those down-ballot races.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Tom, as we said, votes in seven other states last night. A lot of primaries in places like New Jersey and New Mexico. And one of the things we’re seeing, it’s been a theme all year long, a lot of newcomers getting into politics.

LLAMAS: Lots of outsiders. In New Mexico, Democrat Deb Haaland will try to be the first Native American woman to serve in Congress. She won her primary and has a really good shot at winning in November. And in New Jersey, though, Senator Menendez survived his primary, this was another big headline, but he barely broke 60%, George. A clear sign he’s lost some support after that corruption trial where a jury couldn’t reach a decision.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, Tom Llamas, thanks very much.  

Here is a full transcript of the June 6 report on CBS This Morning:

7:12 AM ET

GAYLE KING: They’re still counting votes this morning in a series of primary elections that could determine who controls Congress next year. Eight states held their primaries yesterday. The most important race was in California, which has 12% of all U.S. House seats. Democrats are trying to flip seven seats where voters elected Republicans in 2016, but also preferred Hillary Clinton for president. Ed O’Keefe is here now to sort through all the top results. Ed, good morning, welcome.

ED O’KEEFE: Good morning, guys. California uses an open primary system where the top two vote getters move on regardless of party. Democrats feared a large field of candidates might overwhelm voters, creating a space for Republicans to win both spots, but those fears seem to have been avoided.

LT. GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM [D-CA]: America's future is still being defined by California’s present.

O’KEEFE: In his victory speech Tuesday night, Democrat Gavin Newsom, the frontrunner for governor, highlighted the pivotal role California will play this November. Democrats need to gain 23 seats to take back control of the House of Representatives. With results still coming in, it looks like the Democrats made it on the ballot in all of California’s potential swing districts. That will help the party as it looks for pickup opportunities nationwide.

In other races across the country, it was a good night for female candidates. New Mexico Democrats nominated Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham for governor. A win would make her the state’s second-straight Latina executive. But she face as tough fight against Congressman GOP Steve Pearce.

In South Dakota, Republicans hope to make Kristi Noem the state’s first female governor.

REP. KRISTI NOEM [R-SC]: We have a bold vision for the state and some reforms that need to happen.

O’KEEFE: Pitting her against Democratic State Senator Billy Sutton.

But in Alabama, four-term Congresswoman Martha Roby was challenged in the Republican primary and forced into a runoff election. Roby was the first GOP member of Congress to take back her endorsement of then-candidate Donald Trump following the release of that now infamous Access Hollywood tape.

More signs of how well women are doing? Some could make even more history. In New Mexico, Democrat Deb Haaland is seeking to become the first Native American woman elected to Congress. And in California, Young Kim hopes to be the first Korean American ever elected to Congress.

NORAH O’DONNELL: Wow, quite a number of results there.

KING: How are the numbers shaping up to you?

O’KEEFE: We at CBS project a toss-up still. You need 218 to win, right now we say Democrats will get 219, so they need everything they can find.

KING: Alright, thank you.

JOHN DICKERSON: Alright, Ed, thanks. Good to have you at the table.  


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