With a resounding re-election victory for Gov. Jerry Brown surprising no one, any drama in California’s statewide races occurred further down Tuesday’s ballot.
The contests to become California’s controller and secretary of state, respectively, offered Republicans their best chances to puncture an across-the-board Democratic hold on statewide offices.
In the race to manage California’s elections as secretary of state, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, led Republican institute director Pete Peterson of Santa Monica by five percentage points with 100 percent of precincts reporting.
Vying to oversee California’s finances, Democratic Board of Equalization member Betty Yee led Republican Ashley Swearengin, the mayor of Fresno, by almost six percentage points.
While state superintendent of public instruction is a nonpartisan office, the race to be elected California’s top education official was charged with meaning thanks to a nationally watched court ruling questioning California’s teacher employment rules.
Incumbent Tom Torlakson, an ally of teachers unions, defeated challenger Marshall Tuck, who agreed with the controversial court ruling and portrayed himself as a reform candidate. Outside groups injected more than $14 million into the contest, with teacher unions backing Torlakson and wealthy executives supporting Tuck.
Torlakson, who declared victory, led Tuck by about four percentage points.
Other Democrats cruised to expected wins: John Chiang became state treasurer while Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones retained their posts.
Call Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5543.