We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 
 We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 

What You Need To Know From Tuesday's California Primary

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Xavier Becerra speaks to supporters at Cafeteria 15L in Sacramento.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

UPDATED 6:42 a.m.

A number of state and local races moved forward in Tuesday’s California primary, including setting the stage for the governor’s race in the November general election. Here are some of the highlights from a busy night across the state (and see more in our election night live blog):

Newsom, Cox Advance In Governor’s Race

The next governor of the state of California will either be Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom or Republican businessman John Cox.

Newsom has secured the first of two slots in the November election to replace Jerry Brown as California's governor. The lieutenant governor and former San Francisco mayor defeated rivals from both parties in Tuesday's primary.

Cox's second-place finish ensures Republicans won't be shut out of the race. But the San Diego businessman faces long odds against in a state where Democrats are increasingly dominating.

Newsom has been open about his desire to face a Republican in the November runoff.

Feinstein Withstands Primary Challenge

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein cruised to first place in California's primary on Tuesday in her bid for a fifth full term in Washington.

In a video statement delivered from Washington, Feinstein pledged to "protect California" in "difficult and contentious times."

With about 3.8 million votes counted, Feinstein had 44 percent. Fellow Democrat Kevin de Leon, the heavy favorite to finish second and advance to the November runoff, was next with 11 percent, leading over little-known Republican James Bradley who had 9 percent.

California sends the two highest vote-getters to the general election regardless of party. Feinstein heads to November with more than $7 million in the bank.

A Feinstein-de Leon general election would be California's second U.S. Senate contest featuring two Democrats. In 2016, then-state attorney general Kamala Harris defeated U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez.

Sacramento Incumbents Poised For Re-Election Win

It was a good night for incumbents in Sacramento.

Anne Marie Schubert declared victory over Noah Phillips early in the evening in her race for district attorney. Phillips has not conceded, however, and there remain possibly tens of thousands of ballots to count.

Incumbent council members Rick Jennings, Angelique Ashby and Jay Schenirer were ahead by healthy margins during early vote counts: Three-to-one in Ashby's and Jenning's races, two-to-one in Schenirer’s.

In early voting in the sheriff’s race, Sheriff Scott Jones had more than half the votes in his race. Donna Cox and Milo Fitch both had about 20 percent. Bret Daniels had 5 percent.

Incumbent Becerra Leads Attorney General Race

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra will face a retired Republican judge in his bid to keep the job he was appointed to last year.

The Democrat had about 45 percent of votes Tuesday and retired former Judge Steven Bailey had about 25 percent with 3.8 million votes counted in the four-way race.

GOP attorney Eric Early and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, a Democrat, trailed behind.

Becerra, a longtime congressman, was appointed last year to replace Kamala Harris when she was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Becerra has relentlessly challenged President Trump on policies he said harm Californians. His challengers say Becerra has neglected other important issues because of his fixation with Trump.

Bailey is facing sanctions from the state's judicial watchdog for several alleged improprieties.

Many Congressional Races Too Close To Call

It’s too early to call election results in many of the battleground Congressional races in California where Democrats have targeted long-held Republican districts.

A Democrat and a Republican look positioned to advance to the general election in each of three closely-watched Southern California Congressional races. That may sound obvious, but under California’s unusual “top two” primary system, candidates of the same party can advance.

As of this morning, a Republican had placed first and a Democrat second in seats currently held by Congressmen Ed Royce, Darrell Issa, and Dana Rohrabacher. But in that last race a Republican is fairly close behind, vying for third. A Republican closely trails in third in Central Valley Republican Jeff Denham’s district, too. In all of these races, it could take days or even weeks for elections officials to finish counting the results and confirm no party has been “locked out” of a general election.

Incumbent Republican Tom McClintock is moving forward in the race for Congressional District 4. Democrat Jessica Morse is poised to be his challenger this fall.

The district spans from Sequoia National Forest to north of Truckee and includes places like Roseville and Rocklin.

In a statement McClintock said the results are "proof that the shrill voices of the left do not speak for the people of our communities." But challenger Morse disagrees.

Senator Josh Newman Recalled

California Democrats have been denied their supermajority in the state Senate.

Voters in an Orange County district on Tuesday elected former Republican Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang in a recall election against a Democrat.

Voters removed Democratic Sen. Josh Newman from office over his vote to raise gas taxes last year.

That means Senate Democrats won't hold the two-thirds majority needed to pass tax and fee increases.

Newman narrowly won the traditionally Republican district in the 2016 election, and both parties saw him as vulnerable.

A Republican-backed effort to repeal the tax increase is likely to be on the November ballot.

Most Ballot Measures Approved

California voters approved all but one of the five measures on Tuesday’s ballot.

Measures to fund parks and water projects, direct funds from the state’s new fuel tax, delay when ballot measures take effect, and incentivize homeowners to collect rainwater all passed.

The only measure to fail was Proposition 70, a proposal to change how the state allocates funds from its cap-and-trade program aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The ballot measure would have required a one-time, two-thirds majority vote in the Legislature starting in 2024 to determine how program money is spent. That could have given Republicans a greater say in the process.

The program generates billions of dollars each year by requiring polluters to buy permits to release greenhouse gases.

Associated Press and Capital Public Radio Staff

Sign up for ReCap

and never miss the top stories

Delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.

Check out a sample ReCap newsletter.