Democrats will have no one running in the general election against Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) after Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar (D), a top Democratic recruit, finished in third place in the all-party primary Tuesday night.
The result is a blow to Democrats' hopes of retaking the House; the district was a prime pickup opportunity for them. The Hill had rated the race a "toss-up," but now it will come off the board entirely.
Aguilar trailed Miller and California state Sen. Bob Dutton (R). California's new all-party primary system dictates that the top two vote-getters in the primary move on to the November general election regardless of party. Aguilar had been saving his resources for the general election — he finishes with more than $100,000 in the bank — and was confounded by the three other Democrats on the ballot, who ate into his support and cost him a shot in the general election.
Democrats did manage to overcome a crowded primary in an open Ventura County seat, however: California Assembly member Julia Brownley (D) finished in second, ahead of a Republican-turned-Independent candidate, after getting more than $200,000 in support from the Democratic-aligned House Majority PAC. Former astronaut Jose Hernandez (D) also took second place, ahead of Independent Chad Condit, and advanced to the general election against Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.).