California election update: Kamala Harris leads in Senate race; Clinton claims victory; Sanders vows to push on

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Tuesday's primary in California ended with Hillary Clinton claiming victory as the presumptive democratic nominee and her competitor Bernie Sanders vowing to take his fight all the way to the party's convention in Philadelphia. The presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump, reached out to Sanders' supporters, telling them they're right to be upset at the way the country has been run and calling for change.

As of 11:30 p.m., Democrats Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez were poised to face off for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer in November's general election. Meanwhile, an initiative that would authorize state legislators to suspend their colleagues in the California Senate and Assembly without pay, appears to be headed to victory.

This story is no longer being updated. 

Full list of results | Updates on L.A., Orange County races

Highlights

Update 11:07 p.m. Bernie Sanders speaks to supporters in Santa Monica

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who is trailing Hillary Clinton in California's presidential primary by large numbers, spoke to supporters in Santa Monica. 

Sanders vowed to continue to fighting, despite a number of losses on Tuesday, and campaigning in the last primary in Washington D.C. Sanders said that he had spoke with his primary opponent Hillary Clinton, who delivered a speech earlier in the evening declaring herself the Democratic candidate.

"Tonight I had a very gracious call from Secretary Clinton and congratulated her on her victories tonight," Sanders said.

Sanders also said he received a "kind call" from President Barack Obama earlier in the evening and that he looked forward to working with him on the issues raised in Sanders' campaign. Sanders touted winning big with young people.

"Young people understand that they are the future of America, and they intend to help shape that future," Sanders said. "And I am enormously optimistic about the future of our country, when so many young people have come on board and understand that our vision, a vision of social justice, economic justice, racial justice, and environmental justice must be the future of America."

Sanders said that his supporters won't allow "right-wing Republicans" to control the government.

"And that is especially true with Donald Trump as the Republican candidate. The American people, in my view, will never support a candidate whose major theme is bigotry. Who insults Mexicans, who insults Muslims, and women, and African-Americans. We will not allow Donald Trump to become president of the United States," Sanders said. "But we understand that our mission is more than just defeating Trump — it is transforming our country."

Sanders return to some of his central themes, including reiterating his opposition to the amount of wealth in the hands of the United States' wealthiest.

"The vast majority of the American people know that it is not acceptable that the top one-tenth of one percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. We're gonna change that," Sanders said. "Democracy is not about billionaires buying elections."

He also reiterated his vow to break up Wall Street banks, while saying that the movement is bigger than just the candidate.

"You all know it is more than Bernie. It is all of us together. What this movement is about is millions of people from coast to coast standing up, and looking around them, and knowing that we can do much, much better as a nation," Sanders said.

Update 10:14 p.m. Senate candidate Kamala Harris speaks

U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris spoke to supporters Tuesday night as she held onto a strong lead in returns over fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez, who she will likely face in the general election.

"Our unity is our strength and our diversity is our power," Harris said. She added, "We reject those people who would try to divide us."

Listen to Harris speak here:

Harris also spoke out against those who use anti-immigrant or anti-Islamic rhetoric.

"All eyes are on us as California. And I know we are prepared to lead the way," Harris said.

Harris noted that this was the first open Senate seat in California in almost a quarter century, with the retirement of current Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Sanchez took the stage for a second time Tuesday evening, declaring that she would advance to the November election. In her speech, she painted herself as the more experienced candidate.

Sanchez video

Update 9:21 p.m. Prop 50 shows strong numbers in early returns

A proposition that would authorize state legislators to suspend their colleagues in the California Senate and Assembly — and do so without pay — appears to be cruising to a comfortable victory.

In early returns, 77 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of Proposition 50, with 15 percent of precincts reporting. Early returns from Los Angeles County showed 74 percent of voters in the county supporting the measure.

Proposition 50 is the only statewide proposition on the primary ballot this year. Many more are expected for the November general election.

Update 8:47 p.m. Kamala Harris leads in US Senate race

Democrat Kamala Harris is way ahead in early returns in the race to replace Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate, with 39.6 percent of the total to Democrat Loretta Sanchez's 17.9 percent. The Associated Press has called one of the two runoff spots in the fall general collection for Harris, as the top two Senate candidates from the primary move on to the general.

Aguilar tweet

Sanchez spoke to her supporters in Anaheim, where she thanked Orange County elected officials and said she's gearing up for the general race against her presumptive rival, front-runner Harris.

"It's been an exciting campaign," she said, "and we're getting ready for round 2."

U.S. Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez speaks to supporters after polls closed on Tuesday, June 7, 2016.
U.S. Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez speaks to supporters after polls closed on Tuesday, June 7, 2016. Susanica Tam for KPCC

Republican Duf Sundheim trails 10.1 percent in the battle for that second spot.

We know from a tweet sent by Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan that a sampling of turnout in the county showed it at 35.55 percent at 7 p.m. That compares favorably to 23.55 percent at the same time in 2012, but is far below the 51.16 percent figure from 2008.

Dean Logan tweet

KPCC staff

Update 7:46 p.m. Hillary Clinton claims Democratic nomination

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton claimed her party's presidential nomination Tuesday, as Californians continued to head to the polls. 

Speaking in Brooklyn, New York, on a night where she won the New Jersey primary, Clinton told supporters that they were witnessing a historical moment.​

Listen to Hillary Clinton's full speech here:

"Thanks to you we've reached a milestone," she said. "First time in our nation's history that a woman will be a major party's nominee."

A supporter of democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds a sign during a primary night event on June 7, 2016 in Brooklyn, New York. Six states will vote in presidential primaries a day after the Associated Press declared that Hillary Clinton has enough delegates to become the presumptive democratic nominee.
A supporter of democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds a sign during a primary night event on June 7, 2016 in Brooklyn, New York. Six states will vote in presidential primaries a day after the Associated Press declared that Hillary Clinton has enough delegates to become the presumptive democratic nominee. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Clinton called Trump "temperamentally unfit to be president" and suggested he was a bully who was "stoking fear and rubbing salt in wounds, and reminding us daily just how great he is."

 “When he says ‘Let’s Make America Great Again,’ that’s code for ‘Let’s Take America Backwards,” Clinton said. 

Clinton called for unity and empowerment, saying that "bridges are better than walls."

The AP called New Jersey for her on Tuesday evening after their polls closed.  Sanders had won in North Dakota.

On Monday, The Associated Press and other news outlets reported the Clinton had secured enough pledged delegates and superdelegates to declare victory over her rival Bernie Sanders, though the superdelegates can still change their mights until they vote at the Democratic convention.

Sanders has vowed to fight on despite the number of pledged delegates and superdelegates Clinton has secured.

For his part, Sanders was out campaigning in L.A.'s Silver Lake neighborhood on Election Day.

He has heavily campaigned for a California win that he could leverage for a party platform reflective of his views and for changes in party rules governing issues like superdelegates.

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders poses for pictures with fans in Silver Lake.
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders poses for pictures with fans in Silver Lake. Emily Guerin/ KPCC

Sanders is expected to hold an election party in Santa Monica on Tuesday night.

6:30 p.m. Trump declared winner in South Dakota, New Jersey; calls for change

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump delivered a speech an hour after polls closed on the East Coast on Tuesday. He was declared the winner in the New Jersey and South Dakota primaries by the Associated Press.

The New York businessman has already amassed enough delegates to clinch the Republican nomination.

Trump directly attacked Hillary Clinton's record on foreign policy, criticizing how she handled Libya and saying that her actions had empowered Iran.

"Iran is dominant and we have made them dominant," he said. "You better hope I'm president."

Listen to Trump's full speech here:

Trump also attacked the Trans-Pacific Partnership and said America had made bad trade deals in the past.

"We have to change. We have no choice, we have to change," he added. 

Polls close at 8 p.m. in California. Election officials had predicted a strong turnout in many parts of the state.

As of 5 p.m., the L.A. County Registrar reported a sampling showed turnout of 28.18 percent, which is 10.1 percent less than it had been at the same time in 2008 but 8.6 percent higher than 2012.

We'll have live coverage on air beginning at 8 p.m. tonight, along with a full list of returns for state and local races.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the voter turnout reported by the L.A. County Registrar's Office as of 5 p.m.; KPCC regrets the error.

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