In summary

Highlighting all of CALmatters’ work over the past week

Recent Articles

How Gov-Elect Gavin Newsom could shape California’s future, issue by issue

By CALmatters

Now that California voters have given Gavin Newsom the job he has sought for eight years, he is about to discover that winning was the easy part—governing is harder. Here are his plans for California’s most pressing issues.

“A Failing Franchise:” Is the California GOP doomed?

By Ben Christopher

Sporting starred and striped jackets and “Make America Great Again” hats, the California Republicans who gathered on election night in the U.S. Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego were in a remarkably chipper mood. If the assembled party activists were disappointed by the fact that they had lost their bid for every statewide office in the state—and saw their attempt to repeal a gas tax hike fail—most seemed to take it in stride. Certainly, no one seemed particularly surprised.

Gavin Newsom’s dilemma: Making a change, while following Jerry Brown’s lead

By Laurel Rosenhall

In following Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsom will face a tension other recent governors have not: to follow the path carved by his predecessor while also living up to his campaign slogan, “courage for a change.”

Despite mass shooting, California—with tougher gun control—has lower gun-death rate than most states

By Elizabeth Aguilera

California leads the nation in highest number of mass shooting deaths, but that ranking belies the fact that California has among the nation’s lowest overall gun deaths per capita—which key experts credit to the state’s stringent gun policies.

Tracking California’s deadly wildfires

By Julie Cart

Because there’s no longer a real wildfire season in California, the statistics never stop in their awful aggregation. Virtually everything related to fires is on the rise: acres burned, lives lost, cost to fight the blazes. Here’s an update on the latest blazes, which left much of the state blanketed in smoke.

How local housing measures fared, up and down California

By Matt Levin and Elizabeth Castillo

California’s housing crisis dominated ballots up and down the state. Here’s a roundup of some of the most important local housing initiatives on the ballot, from an Airbnb ban in Lake Tahoe to efforts to rebuild the Wine Country after last year’s fires.

Follow live results from the 2018 California elections

By John Osborn D’Agostino

Starting when polls close at 8 p.m. on election night, live election results as ballots are counted.

Watch: Gov-Elect Newsom on the ‘success gap’ and what else ails California

By Byrhonda Lyons

In this 6-minute preview of his plans for California, Gov-Elect Gavin Newsom explains why he’s a risk-taker and shares some of his plans to improve the state.

Dem domination: California Legislature is turning many shades of blue

By Laurel Rosenhall

The California Legislature, controlled by Democrats for decades, is likely to become even bluer when the new class is sworn in next month. That means the prevailing tension in the statehouse probably won’t be between Republicans and Democrats—but between different shades of liberalism.

So is California’s new schools chief Tuck or Thurmond? Why we don’t know yet

By Ricardo Cano

The race between Marshall Tuck and Tony Thurmond for state superintendent of public instruction has been a multi-million-dollar nailbiter.

Gavin Newsom is elected governor, Feinstein wins 5th term

By Dan Morain

Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom was expected  to cruise to victory on Tuesday as governor over Republican John Cox as polls closed in California, while U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein appeared likely to win a fifth term, despite a feisty challenge by Democratic state Sen. Kevin de León.

CALQuiz: California GOP woes, how Newsom will govern, and Plan B for the gas tax repeal

By Trevor Eischen

On this week’s CALQuiz, a Democrat replaces a Democrat in the governor’s office for the first time in many years, the California GOP performs poorly on Election Day, and the state gets its first female lieutenant governor.

Resistance State

UC urges students to file DACA renewals as appeals court rules against Trump

By Felicia Mello

California notched another legal victory Thursday in its bid to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the U.

CALmatters Elections Blog

Gavin Newsom names top two staffers, bringing California and national experience to the top of his team

By Laurel Rosenhall

Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom announced his first two hires today, picking one leader who will give his inner circle deep experience in the state Capitol and another who will give it a strong national scope.

Vote by mail? Better double-check that your ballot wasn’t rejected

By Elizabeth Castillo

Californians who used mail ballots might want to double-check online to make sure they counted—either a missing or a mismatched signature could void their vote.

Raging fires and mass shootings greet Governor-elect Newsom

By Ben Christopher

Governor-elect Gavin Newsom may have hoped to ease into his new job as chief executive of the State of California, but with ballots still being counted, he was forced today to respond to a new mass shooting and a state once again on fire.

New lieutenant governor Kounalakis makes statewide election history

By Felicia Mello

Former ambassador to Hungary Eleni Kounalakis will become California’s first woman elected lieutenant governor, charging to victory over state Sen.

The rent control initiative just lost: What’s next for renters?

By Matt Levin

With the death of California’s proposition to expand rent control, perhaps the bigger question is what incentive the landlords have to compromise at all.

Gas tax repeal leader’s Plan B: Try to pick off Democrats one-by-one

By Ben Christopher

Even if Proposition 6 fails, its chief proponent has painted a target on the backs of two more state Democrats.

California’s close election results will roll in days or weeks late—again. It doesn’t have to be that way

By Byrhonda Lyons

It’s the price California pays to let procrastinators vote. Unlike most other states that allow mail-in ballots, it opts to count every ballot postmarked by election day—even if it arrives up to three days later.

What Californians should look for on election night

By Dan Morain

California’s election returns matter nationally this year because of their impact on Congress. But statewide, the 2018 midterms are full of key indicators for Californians, including turnout, key legislative races, demographic shifts and the future of #MeToo. Here’s what to watch.

How will this year’s election play out? Here’s what insiders say

By Elizabeth Castillo

With Election Day creeping closer, state political insiders have cast their predictions: It’s going to be robust night for Democrats, with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom winning the governor’s race by 11 percent or more.

Why is California’s rent-control initiative tanking so badly?

By Matt Levin

We break down the reasons Prop. 10 appears to be failing, and what lies ahead for the rent-control movement. It’s not all about the money.

CALmatters Wins Innovation Award for 2018 Election Guide

By Marcia Parker

We are excited to share that CALmatters has won the prestigious EPPY award for our California election guide.


My turn: Women make big political gains. Obstacles remain

Guest Commentary

Big campaign spending for status quo outcome

By Dan Walters

More than $1 billion was spent on California political campaigns this year, but the outcome of this month’s election was pretty much preserving the status quo.

Jerry Brown a tax reformer? Who knew?

By Dan Walters

Outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown has been honored by the Tax Foundation for opposing new tax loopholes. However, his record on tax reform otherwise has been scant.

My turn: Child crime is vanishing. Does anyone know why?

Guest Commentary

The average pre-teen today is 96 percent less likely to be arrested than his or her counterpart in past decades. Arrests of girls and boys of all ethnicity and race for violence, property, drug, vandalism, felony and misdemeanor offenses are down by huge proportions. We need informed, innovative leadership to perpetuate these gains.

My turn: GM’s greenwashing could wreck CA’s electric vehicle progress

Guest Commentary

General Motors’ zero-emission vehicle proposal is greenwashing. GM should support Obama administration fuel economy standards and condemn Trump’s attack on state authority to expand ZEV programs.

Why down-ballot offices are also important

By Dan Walters

Contests for down-ballot state offices don’t get much media attention, but their winners will affect Californians’ lives.

My turn: New ‘felony murder’ rule makes system more just

Guest Commentary

Senate Bill 1437 doesn’t abolish the felony murder rule. Rather, it clarifies that a person may only be convicted of murder if the individual personally killed, acted with an intent to kill, or acted as a “major participant” in the felony with “reckless indifference to human life.” Prosecutors no longer will be able to substitute the intent to commit a crime for the intent to commit murder.

State-county conflict could flare up again soon

By Dan Walters

California’s state government and its 58 counties have had a rocky relationship for decades and a new flareup may be coming.

We want to hear from you

Want to submit a guest commentary or reaction to an article we wrote? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact CalMatters with any commentary questions: