Democrat Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Republican businessman John Cox will face off in November’s general election after finishing in the top two spots on Tuesday evening in the California primary.
Newsom finished in first place with 34.2 percent of the vote, and Cox received 26.4 percent, with 22% of the precincts reporting at 10:25 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.
.@GavinNewsom, who advances in race for California governor, comes out to 2Pac and @DrDre's 'California Love' after being introduced by his wife at his #CAPrimary party. https://t.co/r4y9LO7580 pic.twitter.com/6NTs0sZaTH
— Kristofer Noceda (@krisnoceda) June 6, 2018
During the final debate, Newsom told moderator Chuck Todd of NBC News with a grin that “A Republican would be ideal in the general election.” Newsom got his wish.
Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen (D-Huntington Beach) and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a fellow Democrat finished in a virtual tie in third place with roughly 11 percentage points.
Villaraigosa complained that more than 118,000 voters in Los Angeles County had been left off the voter rolls by mistake.
“We won’t cast aspersions, but we will demand answers … It’s going to be a long night,” Villaraigosa reportedly told a crowd of his supporters Tuesday night, according to the Sacramento Bee
“We want to take a deep breath and make sure no one is disenfranchised … 118,00 votes could potentially be 2 percent of the entire statewide electorate if it’s a low turnout election,” Villaraigosa’s campaign manager Mike Madrid said, according to the Bee.
Newsom, who served as the mayor of San Francisco from 2004-2011, has positioned himself firmly in opposition to President Donald Trump and his administration.
Cox received President Trump’s endorsement last month.
California finally deserves a great Governor, one who understands borders, crime and lowering taxes. John Cox is the man – he’ll be the best Governor you’ve ever had. I fully endorse John Cox for Governor and look forward to working with him to Make California Great Again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2018
“I am honored and deeply grateful to my President and I am looking forward to working with him to make California great again,” Cox said in response to Trump’s endorsement at the time.
“Like the President, I’m a businessman who knows how to get things done. We’re going to secure the border, empower California small businesses, lower taxes, and make our state affordable for everyone.”
Cox voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson over Trump in the 2016 election; a decision he has since said he regrets.
Democrats reportedly spent about $7 million in Southern California alone to avoid a significant loss in the deep blue state.
The Democratic Party would need to acquire 23 districts nationally to gain majority control of the Republican-dominated House. That task will likely be more difficult now with a Republican on the ballot for governor in November.