Democratic State Sen. Alex Padilla and Republican think tank administrator Pete Peterson will advance to the general election, having topped an eight-candidate field in the race to replace Debra Bowen as secretary of state, according to early returns.
The Associated Press called the race for Padilla and Peterson. Both have about 30 percent of the vote, far ahead of Sen. Leland Yee, a San Francisco senator who was suspended after his indictment on federal conspiracy and corruption charges. Former FPPC chairman Dan Schnur is running fourth.
Yee had about 11 percent and Schnur had 9 percent of the vote.
Editor's note: This post was updated at 9 p.m. with the Associated Press call.
PHOTO: Senator Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, listens to floor debate on the budget plan before the Senate votes on the plan. Photo taken Wednesday Feb. 18, 2009. The Sacramento Bee/Brian Baer.
Californians went to the polls today to choose candidates for governor and a handful of other statewide offices, 100 state legislative and 53 congressional seats and scores of local offices.
This is the second time voters will be using the state's "top two" primary voting system for state races - the first time for statewide offices such as governor. Ballots for state and congressional races will include certified candidates from all parties. Voters can choose one candidate in each race, and the top two finishers will advance to the Nov. 4 general election.
For the superintendent of public instruction's race and most city and county government offices, a candidate can win outright at this election if he or she gets more than 50 percent of the votes cast.
Major California tribes with casinos announced Tuesday that they had reached agreement on legislation that would legalize online poker in the nation's largest state.
In a letter to state Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, and Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles – the authors of online poker bills that had each attracted support from various members of the state's influential tribal casino industry – 13 tribal leaders said they had come to terms.
"As you know, this journey has been long and difficult, but the challenges posed by the Internet demand that we harness rather than cede the technology of the future for California and for our tribal communities," the leaders wrote in the letter. "In achieving consensus for Internet poker, we reaffirm our commitment to the longstanding principle of limited gaming that has guided California's public policy toward gaming."
Notably absent from the letter is the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, a Riverside County tribe that leads an online poker coalition that includes industry giant PokerStars.
The legislation backed by the other tribes includes language that would prohibit PokerStars and other alleged "bad actors" from participating. Critics contend that PokerStars violated a federal ban on online gambling. PokerStars, the Morongo tribe and other members of their coalition reject that.
In a statement, the Morongo-led coalition said, "Efforts by a select few interests to rewrite longstanding and effective policy in order to gain a competitive market advantage or to lock out specific companies is not in the best interests of consumers or the state and will be vigorously opposed by our coalition, online poker players and many others."
Last month, the chairman of the politically powerful Morongo tribe said "bad actor" decisions should be left up to gambling regulators and not written into law,
"If it disqualifies our partner without even giving them an opportunity to apply, we would have to fight that," Chairman Robert Martin said May 22 during an online poker conference in Sacramento.
Major opposition also could come from Nevada casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who opposes online gambling and recently enlisted former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown to his cause.
Correa's Senate Bill 1366 and Jones-Sawyer's Aseembly Bill 2291 both would require two-thirds votes to pass.
Here's the tribal leaders' letter to the lawmakers.
A ballot measure aimed at protecting a multi-billion-dollar stream of federal revenue for California hospitals from legislative interference apparently won't appear on the November ballot.
The California Hospital Association said Tuesday that random sampling of signatures for its ballot measure by election officials indicate that it would require a full signature count to qualify – if it does – and "based on this information, it is not likely that the ballot measure will qualify by the June 26 deadline to appear on the November 4, 2014 general election ballot."
The organization submitted 1.2 million signatures and needs 807,615 valid registered voter names to make the ballot, but the random sampling indicates it won't meet the threshold without a full count.
The proposed measure is a constitutional amendment that would require voter approval of any change in a special fee that's been levied on hospitals since 2009 to provide matching funds for about $2 billion year in federal funds to treat low-income patients.
The hospitals agreed to the fee as the state struggled to balance its budget each year and want it to continue indefinitely because they receive much more in extra revenue than the fee costs them.
If a full signature count qualifies the measure, it would appear on the ballot in 2016. Meanwhile, the fee is likely to continue.
Through March, proponents' campaign committee had raised more than $51 million and spent $27.1 million – including $1.6 million for signature gatherers and $25 million to reserve advertising time for a planned fall campaign. The committee had $24 million on hand as of March 31.
PHOTO: Angela Torrens of Rocklin signs a petition in front of the Bel Air grocery store in Rocklin in September 2007 to qualify a tribal-casino referendum for the ballot. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton
The Democratic State Central Committee of California poured another $550,000 into Gov. Jerry Brown's war chest on the eve of the Tuesday primary election, raising the state party's total support for the governor's re-election bid to about $3.6 million.
Brown, who is seeking an unprecedented fourth term, has amassed about $21 million for the general election campaign, after largely sitting out the primary. His Republican opponents, Tim Donnelly and Neel Kashkari, are competing for second place in the election and a spot in the runoff against Brown.
While support continues to flow to Brown from state Democrats, it is unclear how helpful he will be to down-ticket members of the party in the November elections. The governor has traditionally focused his political energies on his own races and initiatives.
Asked on Tuesday morning if plans to help other Democrats running for statewide office, Brown was noncommittal.
"I don't have any plans this morning," he told reporters after voting in Oakland. "But I'm sure that, as people meet with me, I'll be glad to talk with them. We will have a unified campaign. We have a very good Democratic Party under John Burton, and I think ... there'll be opportunities for what we call constructive engagement at the international level."
PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown and his wife, Anne Gust Brown, walk with their dog to the polling place where the governor voted on June 3, 2014 in Oakland. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders
OAKLAND - Gov. Jerry Brown strolled from his home in the Oakland hills on Tuesday to the fire station where he regularly votes, the heavy favorite not only to finish first in the primary election, but also to win a historic fourth term in November.
This is despite running no visible campaign, an effort so nonchalant that one of Brown's advisers, unable to find a microphone stand, fashioned one from a chest of drawers taken from a "free" pile by a dumpster near the polling place.
Taking his place behind the piece of furniture, Brown said projected low turnout in the primary election may indicate "people are relatively confident and are not troubled by any great challenge or issue." He said it makes no difference which Republican, Tim Donnelly or Neel Kashkari, advances to face him in the runoff election, and he declined to say if he would debate either one of them.
He may not have to. Forty years after he first won election to the governor's office, in 1974, Brown enjoys high public approval ratings and has amassed about $21 million for the general election campaign. He is far ahead in public opinion polls.
Asked about his prospects in November, Brown was circumspect.
"Confidence is a tricky business in politics, because if we've learned anything it's that the future is uncertain, that fortune is fickle, and one kind of goes forward with a certain amount of trepidation. And, yes, everything looks good, but no one knows what tomorrow will bring. There's always issues, there's catastrophes, there's scandals, there's mistakes. So, I'm a bit wary as I do this for the fourth time."
But the general election is five months away. As for the primary, Brown was planning to go hiking on family land outside of Williams, as he has on previous election days, before watching returns in Sacramento.
Brown told reporters, "The fact that you have so few questions, I think indicates the impending result."
PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown and his wife, Anne Gust Brown, arrive at the fire station in Oakland where Brown votes on June 3, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders
Across the state today, voters (though probably not very many of them) will be selecting the top two candidates for eight statewide offices, 100 legislative seats and 53 congressional races, as well deciding the fates of two propositions and countless local initiatives, county supervisor positions and judgeships.
Capitol Alert will be bringing you results, analysis and video all night long on sacbee.com. Check back for complete coverage after the polls close at 8 p.m.
If you're still figuring out who to vote for, all of The Bee's candidate profiles, campaign dispatches and ad watches are available at our election hub. Christopher Cadelago has more about eight legislative races and seven congressional races to watch, exclusively on our Insider Edition app.
VIDEO: Despite the lack of interest, there's plenty at stake in today's primary election, Dan Walters says.
ON DUTY: Most legislators will be back in their districts today for last-minute campaigning and election results parties. The Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, however, will be at the Capitol this morning for an informational hearing on developing a long-term expenditure plan for the state's cap-and-trade program, 9:30 a.m. in Room 4203.
HIGH AND DRY: California's severe drought has led the state to order thousands of water agencies and users to stop pumping directly from streams, a drastic response that hasn't occurred since 1977. Many of them will now look to backup supplies, such as groundwater, though plenty of difficult decisions are left to be made. The State Board of Food and Agriculture discusses how to improve the management of California's groundwater supply, which will be particularly crucial for the agricultural industry in this dry year, 10 a.m. at the California Department of Food and Agriculture building on N Street.
THE GONG SHOW: Members of Falun Gong, the spiritual movement that has been banned in China for heresy, hold an art exhibition on the north steps of the Capitol from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. showcasing work that highlights how the discipline has impacted their lives and the treatment of practitioners by the Chinese government.
LEAD THE WAY: Among the controversial gun control legislation that Gov. Jerry Brown signed last year was a bill that bans lead ammunition in hunting. The Department of Fish and Wildlife holds a public meeting in Eureka, 7 p.m. at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center, to discuss its implementation plan for the ban, which must be in place by July 1, 2019.
PHOTO: Voters cast their ballots inside the County Registrar's office in downtown Modesto on November 5, 2012. The Modesto Bee/Elias Funez