by Melissa Pamer
SACRAMENTO – In the first statewide election to test California’s top-two primary system, Gov. Jerry Brown easily won his bid to appear on the November ballot, as did other state-level Democratic incumbents.
By the end of the night, with more than half of the state’s precincts at least partially reporting, Brown held 55.1 percent of votes. Republican Neel Kashkari, with about 18.2 percent of votes, was expected to face the governor on Nov. 4.
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, in third place with about 14.8 percent of the vote, conceded shortly before midnight, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Up for decision for voters on Tuesday were state offices, from governor to insurance commissioner, as well as congressional and legislative seats.
The Times called the race in favor of Democratic incumbents Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, state Attorney General Kamala Harris, and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. All four will face Republican challengers in the general election.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday evening, Brown said he takes “nothing for granted” with regard to the Nov. 4 contest.
“California has come a long way in the last few years,” Brown said. “We’ve closed a massive budget deficit. We have good relations between the two parties, working on significant issues.”
At his Corona del Mar election party, Kashkari spoke before cheering supporters and said the early returns were encouraging.
“We’re not going to pre-judge everything, every vote counts … but we really feel very encouraged,” Kashkari said.
Several congressional contests were drawing intense competition, including the seat that has been held by retiring Rep. Henry Waxman for some 40 years. Eighteen candidates were vying to replace Waxman, whose district stretches from Palos Verdes to Malibu and includes Beverly Hills.
Republican Elan Carr, a county gang prosecutor, held a surprise lead in the initial figures for the heavily Democratic district — an advantage that held through the end of the night.
Carr had about 22.5 percent of the vote. He was followed by state Sen. Ted Lieu of Torrance, who had 20.1 percent in early returns. Former Los Angeles Controller Wendy Greuel had 17.2 percent.