Updated throughout Wednesday, Nov. 7, 3:30 p.m., with 100% of precincts reporting, although a few races remain undecided as counting of provisional and absentee votes continues.
The much-publicized blue wave wasn't quite as devastating for the president as we had hoped it would be, but the Democrats were able to take back the House on Tuesday, with the GOP holding on to the Senate.
Gavin Newsom, as was widely expected, was elected governor of California. Newsom posted on social media, “It's official: Tonight, the voters of California elected me as their next governor. I am so, so grateful. Millions of votes are still being counted, and millions of voices will be heard. But one thing's for sure: Tonight, America’s biggest state is making America’s biggest statement. We are saying — loudly and unmistakably — that it’s time to roll credits on the politics of chaos and cruelty. Now is the time for decency, for optimism, for facts, for trust, and for truth. Because this is no longer just a state of resistance — this is a state of results. Let's get to work.”
Incumbent Dianne Feinstein emerged victorious from her all-blue battle for the U.S. Senate with Kevin de León, with Feinstein ahead 54.3% to 45.7%.
Incumbent Democrat Alex Padilla soundly beat Republican challenger Mark Meuser in the race for secretary of state. Eleni Kounalakis defeated fellow Dem Ed Hernandez 55.7% to 44.3% for lieutenant governor. Democrat Fiona Ma comfortably beat the GOP's Greg Conlon 61.2% to 38.8% in the race for state treasurer.
Democrat Xavier Becerra won the attorney general's race by a wide margin, as did Democrat Betty T. Yee in the state controller contest. In the hotly contested race for state superintendent of public instruction, Tony K. Thurmond had 49.3% of the vote to Marshall Tuck's 50.7%; the difference in vote totals was just under 87,000. In the race for insurance commissioner, Democratic challenger Ricardo Lara, a termed-out state senator, unseated independent incumbent Steve Poizner.
In the battle for county sheriff, the race between Democrat Alex Villanueva and independent (though previously Republican) incumbent Jim McDonnell is going down to the wire. On Wednesday morning, Villanueva has a lead of 50.15% to McDonnell's 49.85%, a margin of less than 5,000 votes. A win for Villanueva would be the first for a Democrat in this contest in over a century.
Meanwhile, in an incredibly tight race for the 25th Congressional District, Democrat Katie Hill was leading Republican incumbent Steve Knight by 51.3% to 48.7% on Wednesday morning, with the result yet to be declared.
Democrat Christy Smith, running for assembly in the 38th District against Republican Dante Acosta, posted early on Wednesday morning, “With provisionals and late VBMs [absentee ballots] still to be counted, we are down by 1,222 votes. Fingers crossed and prayers appreciated. We will keep you posted.”
Even here in California, all eyes were on the Senate race for Texas. Despite the fact that Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke achieved the rare feat of making a Texas race competitive, he fell just short to the impossibly awful Ted Cruz. Already, there are whispers that O'Rourke should run for president in 2020, but he has distanced himself from that thus far.
On to the propositions. It looked like Proposition 2 — to use an existing “millionaire's tax” to finance permanent supportive housing for homeless, mentally ill Californians — has passed. Proposition 4, to issue $1.5 billion in bonds to fund earthquake and other safety-related improvements to children's hospitals, also passed. Proposition 12, banning the sale of meat from animals kept in confined spaces, passed as well.
Proposition 10, which would have ceded rent control to individual cities rather than the state, did not pass.
Other results on the ballot propositions: Proposition 1, bonds to fund veteran and affordable housing, passed. Proposition 3, a controversial water bond measure, was defeated. Also defeated were Proposition 5, which would have allowed seniors to keep their property tax discount when selling properties, and Proposition 8, a union-backed measure to cap profits at dialysis providers.
Proposition 6, which sought to overturn the voter-approved fuel tax that's funding infrastructure repairs, was rejected.
The voters approved Proposition 7, which urges a permanent shift to Daylight Saving time; and Proposition 11, which affects private ambulance and EMT staff's on-call hours.