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What Happened On Election Day In California? Here’s The Lowdown.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, hugs his wife,Jennifer Siebel Newsom as he celebrates at an election night party after he defeated Republican opponent John Cox to become 40th governor of California.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Californians named a new governor and rejected a contentious ballot measure to repeal last year’s gas tax and vehicle fee increases. And many of the tight battleground Congressional races remain too close to call.

And in neighboring Nevada, voters delivered a Senate pick-up for Democrats — while locals grumbled about California politics overtaking their state.

Here are some of the highlights from a busy night across the West (and see more in our Election Night live blog).

Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom

The next governor of the state of California will be Gavin Newsom, the 51-year-old Democrat who has eyed California’s top office for the past decade and is promising sweeping new statewide programs as part of a full-throated resistance to President Donald Trump.

Newsom, the lieutenant governor and former San Francisco mayor, soundly defeated Republican businessman John Cox in a race that never appeared close. As of Wednesday morning, he led Cox with 59 percent of the vote and 93 percent of precincts reporting.

“I’m just overwhelmed with gratitude,” Newsom told supporters at a downtown Los Angeles nightclub just after 10 p.m.

Feinstein Defeats De Leon To Keep U.S. Senate Seat

California voters chose the negotiator over the fighter: Twenty-five year Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein was re-elected Tuesday, besting Democratic state Sen. Kevin de Leon.

As of Wednesday morning, Feinstein had 54 percent of the vote compared to De Leon’s 46 with 93 percent of precincts reporting.

This election was California's second U.S. Senate contest featuring two Democrats.

Tight California Congressional Races Too Close To Call

Democrats took back the keys to the House of Representatives on Tuesday — but tight California races remain too close to call.

One of the closest race is in Rep. Jeff Denham's district in Modesto. The Republican congressman currently leads his Democratic challenger, Josh Harder, by less than 1,300 votes.

Races this close could take weeks to decide as each vote-by-mail ballot is counted.

The three Orange County races that were considered “toss-ups” have yet to be called, with Republicans leading slightly in two.

Democrat Harley Rouda is in a slight lead against longtime Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher in the third race in the Newport Beach area.

In Northern Los Angeles County, Democrat Katie Hill appears to lead Republican incumbent Steve Knight by about 4,000 votes.

And in the race for Darrell Issa's seat in San Diego, Democrat Mike Levin currently leads Republican Diane Harkey by 7,000 votes, though only two thirds of precincts are reporting as of early Wednesday morning.  

California Voters Reject Gas Tax Repeal, Expansion Of Rent Control

On Tuesday night, California voters kept the gas tax in place and denied a measure to give local governments more say on rent control — rejecting both Proposition 6 and Proposition 10.

An attempt to put a cap on how much outpatient kidney dialysis clinics may charge patients also failed — the defeat bolstered by more than $100 million in campaign contributions from dialysis companies, the most any one side has spent on a U.S. ballot issue since at least 2002.

Voters approved Proposition 12 — a measure that will ban sales of meat and eggs from animals kept in enclosures that fall below a minimum number of square feet.

Find out how the rest of the ballot measures fared in our round-up.

Wins For Democrats In Nevada

Democrat Steve Sisolak will be the next governor of Nevada, defeating state Attorney General Adam Laxalt. As of Wednesday morning, Sisolak had 49 percent of the vote to Laxalt’s 45 percent with 92 percent of precincts reporting.

Nevada’s last three governors have been Republicans, making Sisolak the first Dem elected to the post since 1994.

Nevada voters also flipped a U.S. Senate seat for the Democrats, with first-term Congresswoman Jacky Rosen unseating Republican Sen. Dean Heller.

Rosen had earned 50 percent of the vote compared to Heller’s 45 percent as of Wednesday morning

In Reno, voters said that the swing state’s campaign season felt nasty — influenced by both neighboring California and national politics.

“It almost felt like I was back in California with the political ads, the negativity,” said Republican voter Andy Medrano.

Supporters Of Sacramento’s Measure U Claim Victory

Sacramento’s one-cent sales tax measure is poised to pass. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, "Yes" on Measure U is ahead 56 percent to 44 percent.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg told a crowd of about 200 supporters Tuesday at 8 p.m. that an early lead was promising, and later claimed victory.

Long Lines At Sacramento Voting Centers

There were long lines at voting centers across Sacramento County, from Elk Grove to downtown, according to officials.

At Sacramento State’s Modoc Hall, there was a line out the door and down the street filled with students who waited long past the 8 p.m. poll closing time to cast their ballots.

For comprehensive election results as votes continues to be tallied, visit our results page.

Capital Public Radio staff 

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