Even as ballots continue to be counted in two major races, California Democrats running in statewide elections had an easy election night, when it was immediately clear that the mega million spent on several high profile voting metrics turned out to be a bad investment.
The tally of all ballots in California takes days, if not weeks, to finalize, so numbers are subject to change. But in a state where Republicans haven’t been elected statewide since 2006 and Democrats dominate GOP voters by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, the majority of the eight races statewide were quickly convened after the polls closed.
The Associated Press declared Gov. Gavin Newsom victorious in his re-election bid against state Sen. Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) shortly after 8 p.m.
Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis also fended off her Republican opponent, as did Secretary of State Shirley Weber, a former state lawmaker appointed by Newsom in 2020.
Three Democrats who faced a tumultuous first term — Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, State Treasurer Fiona Ma and Superintendent. of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, who was running in a nonpartisan contest – all ran for re-election.
California’s races for attorney general and state comptroller are the last two still pending.
Atty outgoing Democrat. General Rob Bonta maintained a significant lead over Republican defense attorney Nathan Hochman, who has focused his campaign on mitigating a rise in some crime rates and curbing the criminal justice reform movement of the state.
The race for state comptroller was one of the most interesting contests in this year’s ballot. Lanhee Chen, a GOP political adviser and public policy expert, ran against Democrat Malia Cohen, a top California tax official. Chen was considered to have the Republican Party’s greatest chance of snapping a long Democratic winning streak in state office. But Cohen maintained a decent margin over Chen on Wednesday.
Voters also weighed in on seven ballot measures, all of which were quickly called by The Associated Press.
Proposition 1, perhaps the most high-profile of the initiatives, passed easily and will amend the California Constitution to explicitly protect the right to abortion in the state.
California voters also overwhelmingly approved an initiative to boost funding by about $1 billion for arts and music education in K-12 schools. Proposition 28 will use funding from the state’s general fund to fund new programs and hire teachers.
Tobacco control advocates have declared a clear victory over the industry with Proposition 31, a proposal to enforce a 2020 law banning the sale of most flavored tobacco products.
Two closely watched measures to legalize sports gambling, Propositions 26 and 27, have gone up in flames, despite half a billion dollars being spent on the campaign trail. The initiatives pitted some of California’s most powerful Native American tribes against sports gaming companies DraftKings and FanDuel.
A recent poll indicated that both measures lacked enthusiasm among voters, making Tuesday’s result unsurprising.
Californians also turned down a plan to raise taxes for wealthy residents to subsidize the purchase of electric cars and support wildfire prevention programs. Proposition 30 is dividing Democrats, with Newsom in opposition and the California Democratic Party in support. Each side has raised tens of millions of dollars for their campaigns.
And for the third time in four years, this time with Proposition 29, California voters have resoundingly rejected a statewide mandate to increase medical staffing at dialysis centers.
Los Angeles Times