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Republican gubernatorial contender Neel Kashkari and secretary of state candidates Pete Peterson and state Sen. Alex Padilla were among the statewide candidates Tuesday to clinch a spot in the November election.

That incumbent Gov. Jerry Brown was the top gubernatorial vote-getter came as no surprise in a race where the intrigue surrounded the Republican contest for second place.

Facing Brown in November will be Kashkari, a former treasury secretary anointed by the Republican Party establishment. After lagging in the polls for much of the race, Kashkari finished ahead of conservative Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, whose stances on issues like immigration and gun control place him firmly in the party's right wing.

An unusual amount of attention surrounded the secretary of state's race, where candidates pledged to respond to a series of corruption scandals that have clouded the Legislature. Advancing to the November runoff were Padilla, a second-term state senator, and Peterson, who runs a Pepperdine University think tank.

The November lineup for controller remains unclear, with four of the six candidates in position to potentially capture one of the top two spots once all the votes are tallied.

Rival education policy perspectives clashed in the race to become California's top educational official, the state superintendent of public instruction. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, incumbent Tom Torlakson , who had strong backing from teachers unions, had not run up a large enough margin to avert a runoff against Marshall Tuck, a former charter school executive who drew significant financial support from groups that want to overhaul the school system.

Attorney General Kamala Harris, a Democrat, easily won a spot in November's election. There she will face either Republican Ronald Gold or Republican Phil Wyman, who were separated by a thin margin with all precincts reporting.

Other statewide races brought few surprises. As expected, incumbent Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, a Democrat, will face Republican state senator Ted Gaines; current Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, will field a challenge from former state Republican Party head Ron Nehring; and the treasurer's race will be between outgoing State Controller John Chiang, a Democrat, and Republican Greg Conlon.

PHOTO: Republican Neel Kashkari talks to reporters at an event in San Jose on April 9, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders



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