Gov Gavin Newsom, who recently survived a Republican recall election, has won his re-election for a second term in office.
Gov Gavin Newsom, who recently survived a Republican recall election, has won his re-election for a second term in office. Credit:

Kenneth Ng’Eitch Kipruto

Gov Gavin Newsom won his re-election bid with a huge margin, leading a pack of democratic candidates that were seeking new terms in statewide offices in this year’s midterm election.

Newsom, who defeated a recall bid last year, easily won the elections against Republican state Sen. Brian Dahle. It is, however, not clear whether Newsom will serve his full term as governor, with observers saying he may be eyeing the US presidency in the event President Joe Biden does not run in 2024. In the run-up to the midterms, Newsom sponsored adverts attacking leading Republican leaders in Florida and Texas, sending strong signals that he may be interested in the country’s top seat.

By early afternoon after election day, no Republican had won any statewide seat, with California Secretary of State Dr Shirley Weber emerging victorious. Weber defeated Republican Rob Bernosky by 58% to 42% of the counted vote, which stood at 5,394,061 (42%) by early afternoon November 9.

In the race for the California US Senate seat, incumbent Democrat Senator Alex Padilla defeated Republican Mark Meuser. 42% of the vote had been counted by afternoon. In the race for California Attorney General, incumbent Rob Bonta was headed for his first win, having garnered 57% of the vote against Republican Nathan Hochman.  

Eleni Kounalakis was winning her bid for reelection as Lieutenant Governor against Republican Angela E. Underwood Jacobs. Other statewide races had incumbent school superintendent Tony Thurmond winning against Lance Christensen.

State Ballot Measures

In propositions presented in the midterm election voters affirmed abortion rights and rejected measures on sports gambling. 

With a nearly two-thirds majority in early returns, Californians voted overwhelmingly for Proposition 1, which sought to safeguard a fundamental right to reproductive freedom, including the rights to choose to have an abortion and to choose or refuse contraceptives.

The voters resoundingly rejected Prop. 26, which sought to legalize sports betting at tribal casinos, and Prop. 27, which sought to allow online sports betting. 

If approved, Prop. 26 would have allowed tribal casinos and the state’s four horse race tracks to offer in-person sports betting. Sports betting can only be offered to people 21 or older at race tracks. Prop. 27 would have allowed licensed tribes and gaming companies to offer mobile and online sports betting for adults aged 21 and older outside Native American tribal lands. 

Also rejected was Prop. 29, a ballot measure to impose new rules on dialysis machines. Under the proposition, kidney dialysis clinics would have been required to have at least one physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant with six months of relevant experience available on site or via telehealth. It also would have required that clinics report infection data to the state, as well as publicly list physicians who have ownership interest of 5% or more in a clinic.

Prop. 30, which proposed new tax measures targeting millionaires for electric cars, was defeated. The proposition attracted a lot of opposition, including from Gov. Newsom.

Other measures to uphold a ban on flavored tobacco (Prop. 31), and to give more funds to art and music (Prop. 30) sailed through the election.

Kenneth Kipruto, a multimedia journalist and assistant editor with the Black Voice News and the IE Voice, covers the environment, climate change and health.