Brown dominates in primary

Supermajority in legislature to be decided in November

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Despite garnering a majority of votes in the open primary for California Governor, Democratic incumbent Jerry Brown will face Republican challenger Neel Kash-kari in the November general election.

Some 54 percent of voters in the June 3 election cast their ballots in favor of Brown — who, including his time in the governor’s office from 1975-83 — is now the longest-serving governor in California history.

Although the famously left-leaning visionary has been criticized for the viability of some of his policies and projects — including the high-speed rail — Brown took a notably moderate fiscal position during recent budget cycles and is credited with overcoming a $27-billion state deficit and taking modest steps against spending and tax hikes with a Democratic supermajority in both houses.

Brown raised the ire of city governments across the state by dismantling redevelopment agencies, a move which took a 15-percent bite out of the Ridgecrest general fund alone.

But despite winning more votes than the combined field of candidates who ran against him, upon hearing news of the results Brown declared that “fortune is fickle” and said he takes nothing for granted.

Kashkari is considered by some a dark horse contender, beating Tea Party candidate Ted Donnelly’s 14.8 percent of the vote by capturing 19.4 percent.

Kashkari is a former investment banker who contributed about 40 percent of his stated wealth to nearly double his campaign contribution total to $4.1 million — a negligible amount for a statewide contest.

Although Kashkari lacks the fortune of Meg Whitman or celebrity of Arnold Schwarzeneg-ger, he brought with him a platform of social liberalism with fiscal conservatism.

While that mix has resonated with many California voters, he has been criticized by conservatives for his role in the Wall Street bank bailout and support for President Obama in 2008 — although he supported Romney in 2012.

To gain voter appeal, Kashkari has focused on his platform for regulatory reforms that would create an environment that helps create job growth.

The race for controller was notable for being the only state office where a Republican was able to hold onto the lead. Ashley Swearengin garnered 24.7 percent of the votes, while Democrat Betty Yee edged out a member of her party by only 300 votes (out of more than 751,000) to capture 21.7 percent of the votes and make it into the runoff.

Democratic candidates held onto the lead in other partisan races for state office.

Although voters will not decide composition of the state legislature until November, high-profile scandals and regional upsets have made the two-thirds majority in each house, the result of 2012 elections, up in the air.

Republican Andy Vidak held onto his Senate seat, which in-cludes portions of Kern County, after Democratic Sen. Michael Rubio resigned in 2013 to take a job in the private sector. Vidak won 61.5 percent against his Democratic challenger, Luis Chavez.

Criminal charges against three democratic senators — two of whom are up for reelection this year — add another layer of uncertainty to the Democrats’ grip on the state senate.

Results of another nearby race — the neighboring 36th Assembly District — could return the seat currently held by Democrat Steve Fox to the Republicans, with Tom Lackey beating the incumbent in the primary 42.1 percent to 32.4 percent.

In the local state senate race, Jean Fuller ran unchallenged. Assemblywoman Shannon Grove won 74.1 percent against Democratic challenger Mari Goodman.

Complete results for state races are available at vote.sos.ca.go.

Story First Published: 2014-06-11