President Donald Trump singled out Republican John Cox in a congratulatory tweet Wednesday morning, following Cox's second-place finish for governor in the California primary Tuesday night.
"Great night for Republicans! Congratulations to John Cox on a really big number in California. He can win. Even Fake News CNN said the Trump impact was really big, much bigger than they ever thought possible," Trump wrote. "So much for the big Blue Wave, it may be a big Red Wave. Working hard!"
Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom received about 33 percent of the vote to Cox's 26 percent with the majority of precincts reporting Wednesday morning.
Republicans worried that California's primary system — in which the top-two finishers advance to the general election, regardless of party — would result in Republicans candidates getting shut out of the governor's race, depleting Republican voter turnout throughout the state in the general election.
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The Democrat with the second-most votes in the primary was Antonio Villaraigosa, the Democratic former mayor of Los Angeles, who had about 13.5 percent of the vote Wednesday morning.
Cox was a relatively unknown Republican businessman before the election, but Trump has endorsed him personally in previous tweets. Despite the primary win, he's seen as having little chance against Newsom in November. No Republican has won a statewide race in since former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006, and Republican voters are continuing to decline in a state growing more Democratic.