The poll to choose candidates for governor, secretary of state and
numerous legislative and congressional offices, was the kickoff to
what may be a long, hard election season for Democrats. The state's
open primary system allows the top two vote-winners, regardless of
party, to square off against each other in November, and in many
cases both will be Democrats.
"It's going to be like scorpions in a bottle," said political
analyst David Mark, editor of Politix, a Palo Alto- based website.
In Los Angeles, 18 candidates were certified to run for the seat
being vacated by retiring Congressman Henry Waxman, including former
City Council member and mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel, State
Senator Ted Lieu and New Age author Marianne Williamson.
Partial returns early on Wednesday showed Republican Elan Carr
garnering a surprising 22 percent of the votes in the heavily
Democratic district, a narrow lead over Lieu and Greuel, with
roughly 20 percent and nearly 17 percent respectively.
The two who received the most votes Tuesday will square off in a
November contest expected to get ugly quickly, Mark said.
Several races involve candidates who have been allied with the
state's powerful labor unions running against fellow Democrats who
In the contest for Superintendent of Education, incumbent Tom
Torlakson, with strong financial backing from teachers unions, was
ahead in preliminary returns against former charter school executive
Tuck had called for changes abhorrent to labor, including a
lessening of seniority protections for teachers.
Silicon Valley Congressman Mike Honda, who pushed for higher minimum
wages and has strong support among labor unions, had a commanding
lead, with nearly 50 percent of the votes counted in his Silicon
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Late returns appeared to show that his opponent in November would be
fellow Democrat Ro Khanna, a lawyer and former U.S. Commerce
Department official, who has support from powerful tech leaders,
including Facebook executive and "Lean In" author Sheryl Sandberg.
"It's the sort of old school labor establishment versus tech
start-up clash I think we'll see more of in coming years," said
In the race for governor, the top vote-getter in late returns was
incumbent Jerry Brown, a Democrat who has steered the state on a
moderate course and has high approval ratings.
Brown was poised to face Republican Neel Kashkari, a moderate who
worked for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, after media
reported state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, an anti-illegal immigration
activist, conceded defeat.
Attorney General Kamala Harris, a Democrat, faced little opposition
and was in the lead with votes counted by early on Wednesday.
In the race for lieutenant-governor, a November face-off appeared to
be shaping up between incumbent Gavin Newsom and Republican Ron
Nehring in early returns.
(Additional reporting by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Clarence
Fernandez and Angus MacSwan)
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