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Election 2014: Brown, Kashkari to face off in November (updated)

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Voters throughout California went to the polls Tuesday to choose candidates for statewide office in the first-ever top-two primary system. At issue were the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, controller, treasurer, insurance commissioner and superintendent of public instruction. Also at issue are two propositions. KPCC will update this blog post throughout the evening with the latest results.

KPCC's full coverage of the June primary election

12:00 a.m.: Donnelly concedes to moderate Republican Kashkari
10:30 p.m.: 2 Republicans locked in close race for governor
10:26 p.m.: Chiang, Conlon to face off for treasurer
10:02 p.m.: California secession measures fail to excite
9:33 p.m.: GOP Party Chair Nehring to face Newsom in November
9:30 p.m.: Primary sets up tight fall legislative contests
9:21 p.m.: It's Peterson, Padilla for secretary of state
9:11 p.m.: Both propositions pass
9:06 p.m.: GOP lawmaker to challenge insurance commissioner 
9:01 p.m.: Brown speaks after winning primary
8:56 p.m.: Harris easily wins primary for attorney general
8:51 p.m.: Newsom wins ballot slot for lieutenant governor
8:46 p.m.: Measure on California public records takes lead
8:28 p.m.: GOP candidates vie for second slot for governor
8:20 p.m.: Brown wins a slot on November ballot

12:00 a.m.: Donnelly concedes to moderate Republican Kashkari 

Conservative gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly has conceded to Republican Neel Kashkari, Capitol Public Radio political reporter Bed Adler reports. 

Tweet: Ben Adler

Kashkari had been a few percentage points ahead of Donnelly throughout the night, leading the upstart Donnelly by 98,000 votes as of midnight. 

Kashkari will face current Democratic governor Jerry Brown in the November general election.

— KPCC

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10:30 p.m.: 2 Republicans locked in close race for governor 

The two Republicans vying to challenge Gov. Jerry Brown in November are locked in a tight race in California's gubernatorial primary.

The Democratic governor easily advanced to the general election Tuesday, setting up a historic bid for his fourth term.

But in early returns, the fight for second place between Assemblyman Tim Donnelly and former U.S. Treasury official Neel Kashkari remained too close to call.

It's the first election for statewide office held under California's new primary system, in which the top two vote-getters advance regardless of party affiliation.

Donnelly is a gun-rights supporter and tea party favorite who sought to appeal to conservatives despite a low-budget campaign.

The GOP establishment rallied around Kashkari, a moderate former investment banker who hopes to rebrand the California Republican Party.

— Associated Press

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10:26 p.m.: Chiang, Conlon to face off for treasurer 

John Chiang will face a general election challenge from Republican Greg Conlon in his bid to jump from one state fiscal office to another.

Chiang, who is termed out as controller, had 55 percent of the vote in preliminary returns from Tuesday's primary for state treasurer, compared to Conlon's 39 percent.

Conlon is an accountant from Menlo Park who former Gov. Pete Wilson appointed to the state public utilities and transportation commissions.

As the chief banker, the treasurer is responsible for managing the state's investments and administers the sale of bonds and notes.

— Associated Press

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10:02 p.m.: California secession measures fail to excite 

Voters in two far Northern California counties are showing only tepid interest in advisory measures that call for creating a 51st state named Jefferson.

Del Norte County voters were rejecting the secessionist measure by 59 percent in early returns Tuesday. Tehama County voters were backing the proposal, but only by 51 percent, an advantage of just 124 votes.

A similar but unrelated question on Tuesday's ballot in Siskiyou County, to rename it the Republic of Jefferson, was also trailing. Early returns showed only 44 percent of voters in favor.

Residents of the state's rural, conservative northern regions often say they feel ignored by California's leaders. They have discussed secession for more than a century.

Tuesday's secession measures ask the counties' elected boards of supervisors to join a movement to create a new state.

— Associated Press

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9:33 p.m. GOP Party Chair Nehring to face Newsom in November

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom cruised to victory in Tuesday's primary and will face former California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring in November.

With about half the votes counted, the former San Francisco mayor had 52 percent of the votes while Nehring finished a distant second with about 23 percent.

Nehring, who held the GOP post from 2007 to 2011, easily outdistanced two other Republicans. David Fennell and George Yang each had less than 10 percent.

Nehring is seeking to break the Democrats' monopoly in Sacramento, where they hold all eight statewide offices.

—Associated Press

L.A. County Registrar

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9:30 p.m.: Primary sets up tight fall legislative contests

A low-turnout, low-interest primary has the potential to set up several intriguing California state legislative contests in the fall, some possibly between members of the same party.

Two Sacramento state assemblymen, Roger Dickinson and Richard Pan, were preparing for a Democrat-vs.-Democrat general election battle as polls closed Tuesday. Both are seeking the Senate District 6 seat held by termed-out Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.

In Senate District 10 in Alameda and Santa Clara counties, the question is whether voters would forgive former Democratic Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi for shoplifting nearly $2,500 worth of clothing from Neiman Marcus in 2011. Among her four opponents is Democratic Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, who was leading in early returns.

In Alameda and Contra Costa counties, an old-fashioned business vs. labor battle is on between two Democrats in Assembly District 16. Labor is opposing Steve Glazer, a longtime adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown.

—Associated Press

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9:21 p.m.: It's Peterson, Padilla for secretary of state 

Democratic State Sen. Alex Padilla and Republican Pete Peterson are advancing to the general election in the race for secretary of state, a normally low-key affair magnified this year by legal scandals in the Legislature.

Early returns in Tuesday's primary showed them each with about 29 percent. Trailing in third place was state Sen. Leland Yee, who stopped campaigning when he was arrested on federal corruption charges.

Yee's case highlighted his rivals' call for political reform, including campaign fundraising reforms and more disclosure.

Padilla, from Los Angeles, and Peterson, who runs a Pepperdine University think tank dedicated to public engagement in politics, are running to replace termed-out Democratic incumbent Debra Bowen as the state's chief elections and campaign finance officer.

—Associated Press

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9:11 p.m.: Both propositions pass

California voters handily approved ballot measures Tuesday requiring that local governments pay the cost of making their records and meetings public and redirecting $600 million in bond money to provide housing for low-income veterans.

Proposition 42, which amends the state constitution to require that governments pay for complying with state transparency laws, led with 60 percent of the vote after 1.8 million ballots counted. It was backed by the state Democratic and Republican parties, taxpayer advocates and labor unions.

Proposition 41, which redirects $600 million in existing veterans bonds to buy, build and renovate apartments and multi-family homes for low-income veterans, led with 66 percent of the vote, with 1.8 million ballots counted.

The Legislature put both measures on the ballot in unanimous votes.

Proposition 42 had its origins in a backlash against Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature after they approved a $96.3 billion state budget last year that loosened requirements for local governments to comply with the records and open meeting laws because the state would not reimburse them for the costs. They restored funding and rallied behind Proposition 42 to make sure the episode is never repeated.

Sen. Mark Leno, a San Francisco Democrat who authored the ballot measure, credited bipartisan support and newspaper editorials for the victory.

"Apparently California voters greatly value open and transparent government and believe that local agencies do not need a financial incentive to provide it," he said.

The Los Angeles Times called Proposition 42 a "no-brainer" in an editorial that reflected the views of many newspapers, which consider it an important test of government transparency.

"Proposition 42 is one of those measures that Californians must adopt to ensure that they don't get fleeced or shut out by the people they elect," the newspaper said.

The California Association of Clerks and Election Officials urged a "no" vote, casting the measure as part of a long history of the state refusing to pay for laws it adopts.

"It's about shifting the cost of implementing state legislation to local governments and nothing more," the group wrote in a position paper.

The Yes on 42 campaign raised $389,000 as of May 17, a paltry amount for a statewide campaign despite facing no organized opposition.

Backers of the veterans housing measure, which also enjoyed strong bipartisan support and no organized opposition, raised $274,000.

—Associated Press

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9:06 p.m.: GOP lawmaker to challenge insurance commissioner 

The general election contest for state insurance commissioner will look much like the primary contest, with Democratic incumbent Dave Jones facing Republican state Sen. Ted Gaines.

Jones received 53 percent of the votes Tuesday in early returns, while Gaines had 41 percent.

Jones, a former member of the state Assembly, had a huge financial advantage after raising $1.6 million as of mid-May. Gaines, from the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, raised about $100,000.

On the secretary of state's official candidates list, Gaines listed himself as an independent insurance agent rather than current state lawmaker, a nod to the public's generally low opinion of the Legislature.

The insurance commissioner is responsible for licensing, regulating and examining insurance companies. Jones wants the power to veto insurance companies' rate hikes.

—Associated Press

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9:01 p.m.: Brown speaks after winning primary

Gov. Jerry Brown, who prevailed in Tuesday's primary elections, told reporters outside the historic governor's mansion in Sacramento: "I take nothing for granted" in November.

"At this point, 40 years from the time I won my first primary for governor of California, I'm ready to tackle problems, not on a partisan basis, but on the long-term basis of building California and making sure we're ready for the future," said Brown, who is 76.

Gov. Brown speaks

—Associated Press

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8:56 p.m.: Kamala Harris easily wins primary for attorney general

Attorney General Kamala Harris easily prevailed in Tuesday's primary, setting her up to run for a second term in November.

Harris, a Democrat, had 54 percent of the votes in early returns. She faced four Republicans, each of whom received less than 14 percent in early returns.

Whoever among the four finishes second will face Harris.

One Republican challenger, former longtime state legislator Phil Wyman, responded to the recent scandals involving three Democratic state senators by proposing public executions for lawmakers found guilty of endangering others.

That prompted one of his GOP opponents, former San Diego deputy city attorney David King, to call for Wyman to withdraw.

Also running as Republicans were retired prosecutor Ronald Gold and attorney John Haggerty.

—Associated Press

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8:51 p.m.: Newsom wins primary for lieutenant governor

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has won a chance for a second term, with the former San Francisco mayor grabbing 52 percent of the votes in early returns from Tuesday's primary.

Former California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring was running second with about 23 percent. He had a large lead over two other Republicans, David Fennell and George Yang.

Nehring, who held the party post from 2007 to 2011, is seeking to break the Democrats' monopoly in Sacramento, where they hold all eight statewide offices.

The top two vote-getters in Tuesday's primary advance to the November general election.

—Associated Press

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8:46 p.m.: Measure on California public records takes lead 

California voters are showing solid support for a measure to require local governments to pay for making documents available to the public.

Meanwhile, another ballot measure, aimed at aiding low-income veterans with housing, was also receiving strong approval in early returns Tuesday.

  • Proposition 42 — which amends the state constitution to require governments pay for complying with state transparency laws — was favored by 61 percent of voters with 1.7 million ballots counted.
  • Proposition 41 led with 66 percent of the vote, also with 1.7 million ballots counted. It would redirect $600 million in existing veterans bonds to buy, build and renovate apartments and multi-family homes for low-income veterans.

They are the only two propositions on Tuesday's ballot.

—Associated Press

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8:28 p.m.: GOP candidates vie for second ballot slot for governor

Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly and former U.S. Treasury official Neel Kashkari were battling for the second slot on the November ballot to run against Gov. Jerry Brown, the Associated Press reported.

The anticipated low turnout in the June 3 primary is expected to skew Republican, older and whiter than the overall electorate.

Voters are choosing between competing visions for the GOP: Donnelly is a social conservative who supports expanding gun rights, restricting immigration and has worried some of the Republican establishment with his heated rhetoric; Kashkari, a son of Indian immigrants, emphasizes a pragmatic approach and could appeal to a broader electorate as a social libertarian and fiscal conservative.

The governor's race is the most high-profile on Tuesday's primary ballot. But others are shaping up as opportunities for the GOP to make small gains in an overwhelmingly Democratic state.

Tuesday also offers the first statewide test for the prospects of a nonpartisan candidate in a state where more than one in five voters is registered as not having a party preference.

Independent Dan Schnur, a University of Southern California lecturer, is running in a crowded field for secretary of state, the office that oversees voting and campaign finance. Republican Pete Peterson and two Democrats, Sen. Alex Padilla and government reform advocate Derek Cressman, are the other candidates trying to win one of the top two spots.

Tuesday's primary also will set the stage for what is expected to be several fiercely contested congressional races in the fall.

Republicans are targeting four congressional Democrats this year: Reps. Ami Bera from the Sacramento area; Raul Ruiz from the Coachella Valley; Scott Peters from San Diego; and Julia Brownley of Ventura County. Democrats are focusing on ultimately winning the Inland Empire seat of retiring Republican Rep. Gary Miller and have targeted Republican Rep. David Valadao in the San Joaquin Valley.

Seven-term Democratic Rep. Mike Honda faces a challenge from upstart Ro Khanna, a fellow Democrat, and Republican Vanila Singh in the heart of the Silicon Valley. Honda and Republican Rep. Tom McClintock, who represents Sierra foothill communities in the northern and central parts of the state, could face strong challenges from within their own party in the general election.

Californians also will decide two ballot measures: Proposition 41, which authorizes $600 million for affordable housing for veterans; and Proposition 42, which would enshrine local government compliance with the state's open records and public meetings laws.

Voters in Del Norte and Tehama counties are deciding whether to join four other counties pursuing a 51st state to be named Jefferson, while Lake County voters consider overturning county limitations on marijuana growing operations.

—Associated Press

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Update 8:20 p.m.: Brown wins a slot on November ballot

Gov. Jerry Brown has easily advanced to the general election, setting up a historic bid for his fourth term as California governor, the Associated Press reported.

In early returns from Tuesday's primary, Brown was leading a large field of gubernatorial candidates with 57 percent of the vote.

It's the first election for statewide office held under California's new primary system, in which the top two vote-getters advance regardless of party affiliation.

The leading candidates seeking to survive the primary and challenge him in November are Republicans Tim Donnelly, a state lawmaker, and Neel Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury official who led the bank bailout. That contest remained too close to call.

The Democratic governor has amassed more than $21 million in his campaign account but has barely campaigned so far.

—Associated Press

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Previously: Voters throughout California went to the polls Tuesday, and for the first time they were handed a ballot for statewide offices that was not split along party lines.

Under the state's top-two — or "jungle primary" — system, there's now one ballot that includes candidates from every party. The top two finishers in Tuesday's primary go on to the November runoff, even if they're from the same party.

RELATED: KPCC's 2014 June primary coverage

Gov. Jerry Brown may win more than 50 percent of the vote Tuesday, but he will still be in the runoff, likely against one of two Republican candidates — Assemblyman Tim Donnelly or former U.S. Treasury official Neel Kashkari.

Brown has held an overwhelming lead in polls and has yet to hold a public campaign event. He's widely expected to finish first.

Donnelly is a Tea Party favorite who’s struggled to raise money and hold together a campaign but is extremely popular with the party’s conservative base.

Kashkari led the U.S. Treasury’s bank bailout program known as “TARP” (Troubled Asset Relief Program) under Presidents Bush and Obama. He has a big fundraising advantage – including $2 million of his own money – and the full support of the Republican establishment. But he’s struggled to connect with conservatives.

Donnelly led Kashkari in primary polls up until last weekend, when a new survey showed Kashkari narrowly ahead.

Brown and his wife, Anne Gust Brown, voted in a firehouse near their Oakland hills home Tuesday accompanied by their dog, Sutter, the Associated Press reported. Brown, 76, said he's got a special opportunity to serve in his unprecedented bid for a fourth term as California governor.

"I have learned a lot, and I hope if the people give me another four years that I can deserve their confidence and trust and lead California in so many different ways," Brown told reporters after casting his ballot.

Voter turnout has been trending downward in California primaries over the last 20 years. Turnout Tuesday is expected to be low — perhaps matching the record low of 28.2 percent in 2008, when California split its statewide primary and presidential election contests, Paul Mitchell, vice president of consulting firm Political Data Inc., told the AP.

Brown is not holding a formal Election Night party, nor will he give a formal speech. Instead, he's eating dinner with his Cabinet at the historic Governor's Mansion in Sacramento. He's expected to meet with the media shortly after polls close.

Donnelly will address his supporters at the historic Roosevelt Theater in Hollywood. Kashkari's party is in his home county of Orange, at the Port Theater in Corona del Mar.

Other statewide races on the ballot include attorney general, where Democratic incumbent Kamala Harris is running virtually without opposition, and lieutenant governor, where Democratic incumbent Gavin Newsom is expected to easily move on to the runoff.

Also on the ballot are races for secretary of state, controller, treasurer, insurance commissioner and superintendent of public instruction. 

Every Assembly seat is on the ballot, as are the even-numbered districts in the state Senate.

The California Republican Party isn't hosting a post-primary Unity Breakfast for the first time in memory, SFGate reports. The event has been used to bring the party back together after previous divisive elections, including the 2003 gubernatorial recall and 2010's battle between former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and former state insurance commissioner Steve Poizner.

L.A. County Registrar

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With contributions by Oscar Garza and KPCC Wire Services

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