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 ClintonUkrainian official denies Trump pressured president The Memo: 'Whistleblower' furor gains steam Missing piece to the Ukraine puzzle: State Department's overture to Rudy Giuliani 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 RohrabacherThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Biden go toe-to-toe in Iowa Ex-GOP lawmakers are face of marijuana blitz Former GOP Rep. Rohrabacher joins board of cannabis company MORE (R); and Emilio Huerta, who’s looking to unseat Rep. David ValadaoDavid Goncalves ValadaoCalifornia Republican ousted in 2018 announces rematch for House seat The 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 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 TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' 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 DenhamEx-GOP Rep. Roskam joins lobbying firm Ex-GOP Rep. Denham heads to lobbying firm Crazy California an outlier? No, we are the canary in the coal mine MORE, Ed RoyceEdward (Ed) Randall RoyceMystery surrounds elusive sanctions on Russia Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers struggle to understand Facebook's Libra project | EU hits Amazon with antitrust probe | New cybersecurity concerns over census | Robocall, election security bills head to House floor | Privacy questions over FaceApp House panel advances bill to protect elections from foreign interference MORE and Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaIssa's Senate confirmation hearing delayed over concerns about background check The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats clash over future of party in heated debate Issa says he will run for Congress if not confirmed to trade post by Nov. 3 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 McClintockMarijuana industry donations to lawmakers surge in 2019: analysis Live coverage: Mueller testifies before Congress 58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill MORE (R); Andrew Janz, who’s challenging Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesWe've lost sight of the real scandal Twitter won't disclose who's running parody accounts being sued by Devin Nunes Nunes campaign drops lawsuit against constituents who accused him of being a 'fake farmer' MORE (R); and Ammar Campa-Najjar, who’s looking to take on Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan Duane HunterIssa's Senate confirmation hearing delayed over concerns about background check Can Carl DeMaio save the California GOP? The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats clash over future of party in heated debate MORE (R).