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California’s Newsom drives to easy primary win

SACRAMENTO, California. – California Gov. Gavin Newsom rode to an easy victory in Tuesday’s primary just under a year after surviving a recall attempt and advanced to November’s general election, where he will be an overwhelming favorite to take on a little-known Republican senator to defeat.

Early feedback on Tuesday showed Newsom receiving just over 60% of the vote. He meets runner-up Brian Dahle, a Republican lawmaker and farmer from the sparsely populated northeast corner of the state. He had about 15% of the votes.

In the race for the US Senate, Democratic incumbent Alex Padilla also had an easy time getting into the November runoff. He was appointed to the seat by Newsom last year after Kamala Harris resigned to become vice president.

Padilla was on the ballot twice — once to complete the final months of Harris’ tenure and another in a race for a full six-year term beginning in January. Early voting results showed Padilla vastly overtaking runner-up, Republican Attorney Mark Meuser, in each race with about 58%.

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Meuser’s work with the right-wing Dhillon Law Group included 22 lawsuits against Newsom alleging he exceeded his powers in imposing coronavirus restrictions.

Voter turnout in the country’s most populous state was low despite significant voter frustration over rising inflation, rising crime and a homelessness crisis in cities large and small. Despite these problems, Democrats are expected to maintain a tight grip on state agencies and the legislature.

Newsom, who hasn’t campaigned much and made no public appearances Tuesday, said in a press release that Republicans are “attacking our fundamental rights as Americans” by “depriving a woman of the right to vote” and “looking on idly.” Gun violence claims too many lives.”

“California is the antidote to their cynicism – leading with compassion, common sense and science,” he said.

Dahle has blamed Newsom for the state’s leading gas prices, which hit an all-time high of $6.37 a gallon on Tuesday. He and other lawmakers, including some Democrats, have called on Newsom to temporarily suspend California’s gas tax, which is the country’s second-highest at 51.1 cents a gallon. Newsom has flatly rejected the idea.

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It’s an issue Dahle believes he can use to grab the attention of Democratic voters, who vastly outnumber Republicans in California.

“People realize he doesn’t care,” Dahle said of Newsom. “Why wouldn’t you lower the gas tax? He doesn’t understand that his policies harm people.”

Rather than suspend the gas tax, Newsom has proposed sending up to $800 to car owners and spending another $750 million to give people free public transit travel for three months.

Just a year ago, it looked like Newsom might be on the way out when more than 1.7 million voters signed a petition to remove him from office. Dozens lined up to challenge him in the 2021 recall election to topple the Democratic governor of the nation’s most populous state ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

Instead of this, news defeated recall so decisively that none of last year’s main contenders challenged him for re-election this year.

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“This is almost the very definition of non-competitive racing,” said Jessica Levinson, a political commentator and professor of electoral law at Loyola Marymount University.

Freed from the political pressures that usually accompany governors during an election year, Newsom has sought to further establish California as the anchor of the nation’s left wing.

He has vowed to make California a safe haven for women seeking abortions should the US Supreme Court rule on Roe v. calf fall. And he has been pushing for a new law that would allow private individuals to enforce a ban on some assault weapons – similar to how Texas allows the public to sue people to enforce that state’s ban on most abortions.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/07/californias-newsom-cruises-to-easy-primary-victory/ California’s Newsom drives to easy primary win

Sarah Y. Kim

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