06/06/2012 09:48 am ET Updated Aug 06, 2012

Julia Brownley Victory In California Bolsters Democrats

Democrat Julia Brownley emerged victorious from her heated primary battle against Independent Linda Parks in California's 26th congressional district. The win is a boon for Democrats who are hoping to pick up the House seat in the fall.

Democratic groups have been working hard on Brownley's behalf, funneling more than $1 million into the campaign, according to OpenSecrets.org. House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC affiliated with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), spent more than $700,000 on the race, including $600,000 on television promoting Brownley. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pushed mailers linking Parks to Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh.

Those groups breathed a collective sigh of relief on after poll results showed Brownley with 27 percent of the vote to Parks' 19 percent.

"Congratulations to Julia Brownley on becoming the Democratic nominee in California's 26th Congressional District," said House Majority PAC Executive Director Alixandria Lapp in a statement Wednesday morning. "This district represents a prime Democratic pick-up opportunity in the fall and we look forward to the race that Brownley will wage against her right-wing Republican opponent."

Much of the area is currently represented by Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley), who decided to retire after his home was drawn into a different district. In a district where 41 percent of voters are registered as Democrats and 19 percent are unaffiliated, that may give progressives an opening to pick up a seat.

Parks, the independent candidate in California's 26th Congressional District, gave Democrats, both locally and nationally, serious heartburn ahead of Tuesday's primary after she successfully positioned herself as the independent in a moderate district (the four Democratic candidates split voters on the left) and the Los Angeles Times endorsed her, praising her dedication to environmentalism as well as her fiscal conservatism.

Brownley's win earns her a spot on the November ballot opposite Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland. The Times has details on the race.