California Dems endorse three candidates in pivotal House races

California Dems endorse three candidates in pivotal House races

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Three Democratic candidates running in top-tier House races in 2018 landed highly coveted endorsements from the California Democratic Party.

The candidates getting the stamp of approval from the state party are all running in GOP-held seats that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDem strategist says Clinton ‘absolutely’ has a role to play in 2020 Left-leaning journalist: Sanders would be 'formidable candidate' against Trump Clinton hits EPA for approval of pesticide dump: ‘We need bees!’ MORE won in 2016. They’re seen as top races for Democrats to win as they look to flip 24 seats to take back the House.

The candidates who scored endorsements are Dave Min, who’s running against Rep. Mimi Walters (R); Hans Keirstead, who’s challenging Rep. Dana RohrabacherDana Tyrone RohrabacherExpanding Social Security: Popular from sea to shining sea Oregon Dem top recipient of 2018 marijuana industry money, study finds Democrats need a worthy climate plan MORE (R); and Emilio Huerta, who’s looking to unseat Rep. David ValadaoDavid Goncalves ValadaoThe 8 House Republicans who voted against Trump’s border wall The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — The political currents that will drive the shutdown showdown Rep. Valadao officially concedes in California race MORE (R).

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The endorsements give candidates a big boost of momentum to stand out among their crowded fields ahead of the June 5 primaries. Democrats have seen a surge of candidates interested in running for Congress since President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE took office.

At the state party’s annual convention in San Diego, those three candidates were able to get the 60 percent of votes needed to land the endorsement.

But tensions were high in the Walters district as Min’s opponents sought to block his endorsement. His rivals were able to collect the 300 signatures needed to do so and forced a floor fight that played out at the convention Sunday morning.

Those who supported and opposed Min’s endorsement were given the chance to deliver one-minute speeches. But after a voice vote, state party chairman Eric Bauman said that more delegates supported Min.

A similar effort played out in the Rohrabacher district. Kierstead’s opponents tried to collect the signatures needed, but didn’t meet the 11 p.m. deadline on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, in the other four GOP-held seats that Clinton carried, there will be no state party endorsements since no candidate reached the 60-percent threshold.

Those are the seats held by GOP Reps. Steve Knight, Jeff DenhamJeffrey (Jeff) John DenhamCrazy California an outlier? No, we are the canary in the coal mine Polling editor says news outlets should be more cautious calling elections Rep. Valadao officially concedes in California race MORE, Ed RoyceEdward (Ed) Randall RoyceLawmakers propose banning shark fin trade Bottom Line Exiting lawmakers jockey for K Street perch MORE and Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaThe Hill's Morning Report — Shutdown fallout — economic distress Former congressmen, RNC members appointed to Trump administration roles Senate throws hundreds of Trump nominees into limbo MORE. Both Royce and Issa opted not to run for reelection in 2018.

Beyond those seven races, Democrats are also targeting several other House seats in California that are considered more of a reach.

In those races, the party endorsed Jessica Morse, who’s running against Rep. Tom McClintockThomas (Tom) Milller McClintockHouse passes bill expressing support for NATO Oregon Dem top recipient of 2018 marijuana industry money, study finds Rep. Mike Johnson wins race for RSC chairman MORE (R); Andrew Janz, who’s challenging Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers scramble as shutdown deadline nears ‘Fox & Friends’ host asks if McCabe opening FBI probe into Trump was attempt to ‘overthrow government’ Nunes says GOP lawmakers looking through Russia transcripts, will make DOJ referrals MORE (R); and Ammar Campa-Najjar, who’s looking to take on Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan Duane HunterThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race House Dems release 2020 GOP 'retirements to watch' for House Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 MORE (R).