California State Treasurer Phil Angelides defeated Controller Steve Westly in a bitter primary election battle to be the Democratic Party’s gubernatorial candidate. Angelides had 48 percent of the vote, to Westly’s 43.3 percent, according to Secretary of State Bruce McPherson’s office.
“You’ve given me a chance to fight for you, for the California of our dreams, and I will not let you down,” Angelides told cheering supporters.
Shortly after the election results were tallied, both Democrats appeared united and turned their attention to defeating a wounded but rebounding Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the fall.
Previewing what is likely to be a prominent theme in his campaign, Angelides asserted that Schwarzenegger was in league with President Bush, who remains deeply unpopular in California.
“This contest will offer Californians the clearest choice they’ve had in a generation,” Angelides said.
Schwarzenegger, meanwhile, launched a statewide bus tour almost immediately after the election on Wednesday.
Schwarzenegger faced no credible opposition in the primary, easily winning his party’s nomination. He enters the race a provisional front-runner — an incumbent in a state that tends to retain incumbents.
“People want to hear about what each candidate wants to do with the future of California — what we want to do with education or with health care,” he said. “Those are the important issues.”
In other California races, Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi won the Democratic nomination to run for lieutenant governor. He received 43.5 percent of the vote, while the next closest competitor, state Sen. Jackie Speier, received 38.5 percent of the votes. Garamendi now faces state Sen. Tom McClintock, R-Thousand Oaks.
Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante received 70.4 percent of the vote to win the Democratic contest for insurance commissioner over John Kraft. The Commissioner’s seat is vacant because Garamendi is running for Lt. Governor. Bustamante will run against Republican Steve Poizner in November.
Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown scored a resounding victory in his latest attempt to reinvent himself politically, winning the Democratic slot in November’s race for state attorney general. Brown will face Republican state Sen. Chuck Poochigian.
Brown, 68, a three-time presidential candidate who was governor from 1975 to 1983, was dubbed “Gov. Moonbeam” for his quirky politics the last time he held statewide office. But he has portrayed himself as a “fighter for justice” and someone who’s learned from decades of public service.
A Field Poll released the day of the election showed as few as one in three registered voters was expected to cast ballots, the lowest turnout since the organization began making predictions in 1946.
“I think that today was a somewhat sad day for me, because we’re all supposed to go out and vote,” Schwarzenegger said on election day. “And I heard that it’s the lowest voter turnout probably in the history of California. I think it just shows that negative campaigning doesn’t work.”
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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