Newsletter: California primary results portend a general election with national themes


Welcome to the general election. Gavin Newsom and John Cox used their victory speeches to draw clear contrasts and begin sketching national themes ahead of their face-off in the race to be California’s next governor this fall.

In simpler times, I might write that the race is over. But this is the Trump era, and anything is possible.

A few things are likely: President Trump will crow about his endorsement of Cox as the thing that sent him over the top. (And history may prove him right.) Democrats will say they are united behind Newsom, the lieutenant governor who has had his eye on this prize for years. (Antonio Villaraigosa, at least 400,000 votes behind Cox with nearly 60% of precincts reporting results, made that point when endorsing Newsom swiftly Tuesday night.) Republicans, fueled by a victory in removing a state senator from office as punishment for his vote for higher gas taxes, surely are relieved they will have a GOP standard-bearer at the top of the ticket this fall when crucial U.S. House races are decided.


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What’s less clear is if the race for governor will captivate Californians, and which of the Democrats still all bunched up and fighting for second place in congressional races would fare best against Republican incumbents.

The one thing I can predict for certain is that the Los Angeles Times will be here for you every step of the way in the 153 days until the general election.


Track live election results as they come in over the next few days. We’ll be posting about important races on our special primary news feed capturing everything that happens related to the primary. Catch up with our detailed running analysis on the results.

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Here’s a quick round of primary election headlines from Tuesday.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom secured the top spot in Tuesday’s primary election for California governor and faces a November showdown with John Cox, a multimillionaire Republican hitched to the far-right policies of President Trump. The night brought a stunning defeat to former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who embodied the growing power of the Latino electorate when he was elected mayor in 2005.

In his victory speech Tuesday night, Newsom accused Cox of being a Trump “foot soldier” in his war against California. Cox, in turn, tried to yoke Newsom and the Democratic Party with the ills facing Californians, including the high poverty rate and the lack of affordable housing.

According to L.A. County Registrar Dean C. Logan, 118,522 voters were accidentally left off Los Angeles polling place rosters. Villaraigosa called foul and asked for the polls to remain open.

Newsom spent his final public appearance before the polls closed Tuesday at an upscale Oakland food court taking well-wishes and the occasional tough policy question.

On Tuesday morning, Trump urged Californians to turn out to vote Tuesday morning and block Democrats from retaking the House.


State Sen. Josh Newman was headed for ouster because of voter ire over the higher gas tax.

Miso Kwak of Diamond Bar is nearly blind and still came out to vote — but L.A. County voting machines designed to help blind voters repeatedly failed to work at one polling station after another.

Californians rejected one of the five statewide propositions, which dealt with how future climate change funds are spent. Here is a rundown of the four measures that did win on the ballot.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, as expected, prevailed. It appears that state Sen. Kevin de León will join her in November.

Democrats seem poised to avoid lockouts of the most competitive congressional races.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher secured the top spot in his race Tuesday, but it’s still unclear who will take on the 15-term Republican incumbent this fall.


Republican Rep. David Valadao advanced to the general election along with his sole opponent, Democrat TJ Cox.

Rep. Jeff Denham advanced to the general election in the 10th Congressional District.

California Republicans in most tough House races didn’t stick around for results. Most vulnerable incumbents watched primary election returns from Washington.

California’s competitive, crowded House races are getting pricey, and more than $108 million has been spent so far this cycle to help elect candidates to Congress.

Two Democrats rushed to an early lead Tuesday to fill an open state Assembly seat in northern San Diego County previously held by Republican Rocky Chavez. Democrats Tasha Boerner Horvath and Elizabeth Warren each held 25% of the vote, while six Republicans split the remainder of the ballots, with 35% of precincts reporting.

Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky became the first California judge recalled from office since 1932.

In Huntington Beach, voters were scattered in their support for candidates on the primary ballot.


Steve Lopez sums up voter apathy in California.


Roughly six months after a tide of sexual misconduct allegations and resignations swept through Sacramento as the #MeToo movement began to rock institutions of power across the nation, Los Angeles County voters cast their judgment on the accused at the ballot box Tuesday.

Democrat Tony Mendoza, who resigned from his state Senate seat amid misconduct charges earlier this year, did not succeed in his quest to win back the seat for the remainder of the current term, placing third in a field of 11 candidates, with 26% of precincts reporting Tuesday night. In a separate vote, Mendoza was in fifth place in a field of 10 candidates in the primary election to win the next four-year term starting in 2019 representing the same swath of Southeast Los Angeles County with 26% of precincts reporting Tuesday night.


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