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Essential California: Primary day!

Essential California: Primary day!
California voters head to the polls today. Above, a polling place in 2012. (Los Angeles Times)

TOP STORIES

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Tuesday, June 5, and that means it’s primary day in California. Candidates across the state have been zooming around making their last-minute pitches, hoping to vault themselves into one of the top two spots and into the general election. The state’s unique primary system — where Republicans and Democrats all run together and only the top two get out — has led to a great deal of chaos up and down the ballot. From Republican turnout in contested congressional races to the fabled record of a bellwether county, here are five things worth watching as election returns come in. Los Angeles Times

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GOVERNOR’S RACE

Meet the candidates. Los Angeles Times

Gavin Newsom — the former mayor who made LGBTQ history. Los Angeles Times

Antonio Villaraigosa — the former mayor who convinced voters to tax themselves in a recession and won. Los Angeles Times

John Cox — who, before he became Trump's choice for governor, was on a quixotic mission to remake California's Legislature. Los Angeles Times

John Chiang — who has been touting his battles with a former governor as he tries to become the next one. Los Angeles Times

Travis Allen — who hopes voter anger over the gas tax will propel him from GOP backbencher to governor. Los Angeles Times

Delaine Eastin — who spent months trying to build momentum and went to all of the state’s 58 counties along the way. Los Angeles Times

Some hot coverage of the gubernatorial race:

Where the race will be won: Once an afterthought, the Inland Empire has become a pivotal battleground. Los Angeles Times

Cash bonanza: Fueled by unlimited donations, independent groups are playing their biggest role yet. Los Angeles Times

Plus: This graphic shows how donors have poured millions into the governor’s race. Los Angeles Times

Womp womp: How the Democratic primary became a giant flop. Politico

Panic at the disco: The primary election could reshape November — and Democrats are panicking. Washington Post

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Gubernatorial hopefuls, clockwise from top left, Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa, John Chiang, Travis Allen, John Cox and Delaine Eastin.
Gubernatorial hopefuls, clockwise from top left, Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa, John Chiang, Travis Allen, John Cox and Delaine Eastin. (Los Angeles Times)

MIDTERM MADNESS

Control of Congress — and the prospect of impeaching President Trump — runs through roughly half a dozen congressional districts in California. If Democrats can run the table and get their best candidates out of the primary, their prospects in November look pretty good. But that might not be exactly going as planned. Los Angeles Times

-- How the state’s primary system could stop Democrats from retaking the U.S. House. Los Angeles Times

-- These are the candidates running against vulnerable congressional Republicans in the Central Valley. Los Angeles Times

--California's GOP House members are taking their challengers more seriously, and the numbers show it. Los Angeles Times

-- Why these Republicans keep winning in Democratic-leaning districts. Los Angeles Times

-- Thirty-six candidates are on the ballot in these districts, and two of them will be heading to Congress. Los Angeles Times

-- Will Asian American voters help turn Orange County blue? New York Times

-- Democrats hope to stave off disaster in winnable House races. Los Angeles Times

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-- Chaos in San Diego. The New Yorker

ODDS AND ENDS

Congressional and gubernatorial races may be grabbing all the headlines, but down the ballot, things are heating up. From the state Legislature to the insurance commissioner, here’s what else is going on.

-- Democrats are looking to make the GOP irrelevant again in the Legislature. San Francisco Chronicle

--What challenge? Sen. Dianne Feinstein romps ahead in the primary with turns to the left. Washington Post

-- Health is a hot topic in the race for insurance commissioner, but the power is limited. Kaiser Health News

-- Sacramento developer Angelo Tsakopoulos and his daughter Eleni Kounalakis have donated $9 million to help her become the state's next lieutenant governor. Sacramento Bee

ENDORSEMENTS

The complete list of L.A. Times endorsements in the primary. Los Angeles Times

-- San Francisco Chronicle endorsements. San Francisco Chronicle

-- Sacramento Bee endorsements. Sacramento Bee

-- San Diego Union-Tribune endorsements. San Diego Union-Tribune

-- San Jose Mercury News endorsements: Mercury News

L.A. STORIES

Mayor’s pick: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Monday that he had chosen Michel Moore, a 36-year LAPD veteran known for his mastery of subjects including crime statistics and budgets, to be the city’s next police chief. Moore, 57, who runs the department’s patrol operations, was one of three finalists chosen by the civilian Police Commission from a field of 31 applicants for chief of one of the nation’s largest police departments. Moore next faces City Council confirmation. Los Angeles Times

Zoot Suit Riots: After 75 years, L.A. looks back on a violent summer. Los Angeles Times

In San Pedro: One of L.A.'s oldest community gardens thrived for decades. Then the water wars began. Los Angeles Times

“I cried all night”: A homeless woman on her first night on the streets in Los Angeles. The Guardian

IMMIGRATION AND THE BORDER

By the border: “They wanted the world to pay attention to migrants. But the attention came at a price.” BuzzFeed

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Uh-oh: Why the L.A. Unified School District may face financial crisis even with a giant surplus this year. Los Angeles Times

Looking back: How Robert F. Kennedy's assassination altered California politics. Los Angeles Times

Cool project: The Sacramento Bee is out with its Influencer Series, “a panel of 60 influential Californians who will offer their views throughout the year” about the state of the state. Sacramento Bee

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

Los Angeles area: Partly cloudy, 74, Tuesday. Partly cloudy, 73, Wednesday. San Diego: Partly cloudy, 68, Tuesday and Wednesday. San Francisco area: Cloudy, 65, Tuesday. Cloudy, 60, Wednesday. Sacramento: Cloudy, 65, Tuesday. Cloudy, 60, Wednesday. More weather is here.

AND FINALLY

Today’s California memory comes form Rick Hess:

I landed at LAX in March 1984 to start a new life in California. The nonstop flight had started with plane de-icing at Dulles International. Originally from a conservative farm town in Pennsylvania, I worked for HP in Washington, D.C., and I was transferred to sell and support software in L.A.'s defense industry. I was in my mid-20s, and California was going to allow me to live freely as a young gay man. It was a warm, sunny day, and I drove my rental car to Santa Monica and walked to Will Rogers beach. I surveyed the scene: young shirtless men playing volleyball, older men on colorful towels, and laughter competing with Pacific waves hitting the sand. I had arrived in LaLa Land, and I already felt at home.”

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