Local

In California and the nation, a stunning election closes one chapter and opens another

California's new U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris speaks during her election night watch party at The Exchange LA on Nov. 8, 2016. Harris defeated opponent Rep. Loretta Sanchez during Tuesday's election,
California's new U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris speaks during her election night watch party at The Exchange LA on Nov. 8, 2016. Harris defeated opponent Rep. Loretta Sanchez during Tuesday's election,
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Millions of voters across California trooped to their polling places Tuesday to cast ballots in an election that was game-changing for both the country and the state.

As expected, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won California, a state so blue that GOP nominee Donald Trump barely turned his attention to it in the final months of the campaign.

But the Trump win illustrates once again how dramatically different California's politics are from many other parts of the country.

In other races, the votes fell where projected.

State Attorney General Kamala Harris, as expected, captured the U.S. Senate race seat to succeed Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is retiring. Harris had maintained a double-digit point advantage in recent polls over her opponent, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez.

Harris becomes the first biracial woman elected to the Senate. She is African-American and South Asian-American. Sanchez would have been the first Latina senator.

Sanchez was unable to galvanize the Latino vote or attract Republicans in numbers to overcome Harris' advantages as a statewide officeholder with endorsements from such high-profile backers as President Obama.

The race was a major test of the state's voting system in which the top two candidates in the primary election advance to the general. Because two Democrats ended up on the ballot, many Republicans planned to avoid the race.

Voters' decisions on major state ballot measures will mean California will legalize recreational marijuana and regulate ammunition sales.

Less clear is the fate of the measure to do away with the death penalty, Prop 62, which appears to be headed toward defeat.

Also up in the air are two local ballot initiatives that could transform public transportation and enact a property tax that would aim to raise $1.2 billion to house the city's homeless population. Measure M and Measure A had 70 percent and 73 percent approval as of early Wednesday. Both require a two-thirds majority to pass.

In Los Angeles County, supervisor candidate Kathryn Barger appeared set for victory in the sprawling 5th district.

In a Facebook Live video from her election night party, Barger spoke confidently about her lead, telling supporters to mark their calendars for Dec. 5, when "we will be downtown, and we will be doing the swearing in. So please mark your calendars, because each and every one of you is invited."

The other L.A. supervisorial race between candidates Janice Hahn and Steve Napolitano remained close.