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Gov. Newsom easily advances to November General Election

Recall: Voters decide fate of San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin
Recall: Voters decide fate of San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin 02:26

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/AP) -- As expected incumbent Gov. Gavin Newsom easily advanced Tuesday to November's General Election. It's just a question of who his opponent will be.

As the polls closed, Newson had built an insurmountable lead, earning 1,044,956 votes or nearly 60 percent of the more than 23 percent of the ballots counted.

Republican Brian Dahle was also easily outpacing his opponents with 299,366 votes.

"I think the only loss for the governor is failing to win really, really big," said Jessica Levinson, a political commentator and election law professor at Loyola Marymount University. "This is almost the definition of a noncompetitive race."

Democrats control the White House and Congress and the party in power often loses ground in midterm elections. If Democrats lose ground in California, it's extremely unlikely to be in the races for governor and U.S. Senate.

Criticism of Newsom's handling of the pandemic drove last year's recall. Newsom, who imposed the nation's first statewide COVID-19 shutdown order, countered that his actions saved lives and has pointed to statistics showing California's per capita death rate was better than Texas, Florida and most other states.

Newsom has mounted a low-key reelection effort so far this year. He's taken credit for a string of record budget surpluses during his first term in office and used some of the money to pay for the health care for people living in the country illegally, to subsidize health insurance premiums for the middle class and send cash payments to most taxpayers.

Should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the Roe v. Wade decision he has vowed to turn California into a sanctuary for women seeking abortions. He also pledged to sign a law allowing private citizens to sue gun makers and sellers to enforce the state's ban on some assault weapons.

 Dahle, a Republican state senator who was endorsed by the state GOP, is seen as likeliest to finish second in the crowded field. A wild card could be Michael Shellenberger, an author and activist who is running without a political party preference and came in third in a recent poll conducted by the University of California-Berkeley.

Dahle, a farmer first elected to the state Legislature in 2012, has blamed most of California's problems on the Democratic Party's dominance of state government, where they control all statewide offices and have huge majorities in the Legislature. He says the Newsom administration has not done enough to prevent and combat wildfires while criticizing Democratic leaders for not investing in new water storage systems to better protect the state against drought.  

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