California Democrat Gil Cisneros on Wednesday advanced in his bid to replace retiring GOP Rep. Ed Royce, in the process helping his party avoid a potential shutout in a key race in the state’s unpredictable “jungle” primary.
The party was initially concerned that a failure to coalesce around a single candidate would cost Democrats a spot in the general election. California’s primaries advance the top two candidates regardless of party, so two Republicans could have potentially made the ballot and shut out the Democrats from competing in November.
Those stakes were magnified by the fact that California’s 39th Congressional District represents one of the Democratic Party’s best chances at flipping a GOP-held seat. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won the district in 2016 by 8 points.
But Democrats are breathing a sigh of relief now that Cisneros has secured a spot in the general election. He’ll face off against Republican Young Kim, the leading vote-getter in the race.