Good morning, California.

The returns are in, mostly. The race for November begins.

Newsom prepares to trump Cox

Democratic frontrunner Gavin Newsom on election night.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Republican John Cox will face one another in the fall run-off to replace Gov. Jerry Brown, after a $22 million ad blitz aimed at helping former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa fell flat.

Here’s video of Newsom’s election night speech. Villaraigosa quickly endorsed Newsom Tuesday night.

Newsom was the front-runner from the start, and racked up wide margins in Northern California counties. He was outpolling Villaraigosa in Los Angeles County, which should have been the former mayor’s stronghold.

Why Cox? Trump endorsed Cox via Twitter at the request of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy believes a Republican at the top of the ticket will help juice Republican turn-out, which in turn will help congressional Republicans hold their seats.

What now: Expect Newsom to remind voters at every opportunity that Cox is Donald Trump’s candidate of choice. Only about 30 percent of California’s voters approve of Trump.

In the fall, Newsom and Brown will focus on flipping congressional seats and defeating the Republican-backed initiative to repeal the 12-cent per gasoline tax approved by legislators last year to pay for road and bridge repairs.

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Feinstein, once more

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein easily won the top spot in Tuesday’s primary. First elected in 1992, she will be running for the sixth time for Senate. State Sen. Kevin de Leon, a Democrat, was a far distant second. He barely led an unfunded and unknown Republican, James P. Bradley, of Laguna Nigel.

Bottom line: De Leon was dominant in the California Senate, serving as senate pro tem for more than three years, and carrying major environmental legislation. But big fish in the Legislature have a hard time getting known outside the Capitol.

Biggest losers

Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters Dean Logan apologized for a misprint that omitted 118,000 names of registered voters from voter lists. The snafu affected more than a third of the county’s precincts. Logan scrambled to assure them that they could cast provisional ballots. Making matters worse, the registrar’s website crashed during the night.

Charter school advocates led by Netflix founder Reed Hastings, Los Angeles billionaire Eli Broad and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent upward of $22 million to try to push Antonio Villaraigosa into second place. It didn’t work.

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, a Democrat, was in fourth place in the race for attorney general, behind two little known Republicans and way behind Democratic incumbent Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra. Becerra got twice the number of votes as Jones in Jones’ home county, Sacramento.

Tony Mendoza tried to make a comeback after quitting his San Gabriel Valley Senate seat amid sexual harassment allegations. He failed.

Microsoft: Privacy is a right, to a point

Like other tech companies, Microsoft is attempting the difficult navigation between its call for greater privacy of consumer data and its opposition to a proposed California ballot measure to do the same thing.

On May 21, Microsoft Corp. got lots of attention when it blogged that it would strengthen its privacy policy and declared that privacy is “a fundamental human right” and the “foundation of trust.”

Less noticed: On June 1, the company based in Redmond, Wash., donated $195,000 to a campaign to defeat a proposed initiative headed for the November ballot that promises Californians greater privacy protection by restricting data sharing and giving a broader right to sue over data breaches.

Microsoft’s statement: “We believe the California measure could have unintended consequences for both businesses and consumers and that there is a better way to give consumers the privacy rights they deserve.”

Microsoft joins other major opponents including AT&T, Facebook, Comcast, Google, Verizon and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Each gave $200,000, although Facebook said in April that it will not donate any more to the campaign.

Why $195,000? Hard to know for certain. But California campaign finance law requires that the largest donors to a committee be publicly disclosed on campaign ads. At $195,000, Microsoft could avoid that disclosure.

Walters: A conspiracy of silence

CALmatters’ Dan Walters turns his attention to the 98 tax measures that were on local ballots around the state Tuesday, commenting that there is a conspiracy of silence.

Officials fail to tell voters that many of the tax hikes are used to pay down pension debt.

Why not level with voters? Because voters are not likely to support taxes to pay for other people’s retirement. Then there is the proposal pushed by teachers unions and the Davis Unified School Board to exempt teachers from having to pay tax hikes to help pay for schools.

Hand-wringing for naught

Democrats fretted that an abundance of congressional candidates would result in them getting shut out in congressional races they think they can win in the fall. That didn’t happen, based on election night returns.

Noteworthy: In the race to replace San Diego County Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, Republican Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey led the crowded field. But election night tallies show Democratic candidates received twice as many votes as those cast for Republicans.

Races to watch: Seats held by congressional Republicans Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa, Mimi Walters of Irvine, and Steve Knight in the Antelope Valley, plus the Orange County seat held by retiring Congressman Ed Royce.

Also: Democratic Congressman Jim Costa of Fresno should be wary of his challenger, first-time Republican candidate Elizabeth Heng. Congressman Tom McClintock, a Republican who represents the Sierra, must face the well-funded first time Democratic candidate Jessica Morse.


For all the chatter about enthusiastic voters are in the era of Donald Trump, Paul Mitchell of Political Data Inc., estimated the turn-out would be about 31.5 percent. That would be up from a record low 25.2 percent in 2014, the last time there was a gubernatorial race.

Please email or call with tips, suggestions and insights, [email protected], 916.201.6281. Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.