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The Latest: 2 California down-ballot races too close to call

November 8, 2018
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Katie Hill, a Democratic Party candidate from California's 25th congressional district speak waves at supporters during an election watch party Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Santa Clarita, Calif. Hill is running against Republican incumbent Steve Knight. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on California election results (all times local):

5:50 p.m.

A day after the elections, contests for California’s insurance commissioner and superintendent of public instruction remain too close to call.

Democratic state Sen. Ricardo Lara is slightly ahead of Republican-turned-independent Steve Poizner as they vie to head the Department of Insurance. Lara had just over 50 percent of the vote Wednesday.

The department enforces insurance laws, licenses and regulates companies and investigates fraud.

In the race to become the state’s top public education official, Los Angeles schools executive Marshall Tuck has a slight edge over Assemblyman Tony Thurmond. Tuck, who’s supported by wealthy charter school and education reform proponents, has just over 50 percent of the vote. Thurmond has the backing of powerful teachers unions.

Thurmond and Tuck are Democrats but the race is nonpartisan and their party affiliation didn’t appear on the ballot.

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3:53 p.m.

Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Knight has conceded the last GOP-held House seat anchored in Los Angeles County.

Democrat Katie Hill holds a 2-point lead and Knight said the voters have spoken.

Thousands of ballots remain to be counted and The Associated Press has not called the race.

Knight was seeking a third term in the 25th District in northern Los Angeles County.

A political newcomer and centrist, the 31-year-old Hill supports universal health care and counts Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren among her supporters. In campaign ads, she also highlighted her family’s police and military service.

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2:34 p.m.

Californians have rejected borrowing nearly $9 billion for water infrastructure improvement projects despite the state suffering from chronic water scarcity.

Proposition 3 lost Tuesday by a narrow margin of less than 3 percentage points. The initiative called for devoting the money to storage and dam repairs, watershed and fisheries improvements, and habitat protection and restoration.

Much of the $8.9 billion was earmarked for conservancies and state parks to restore and protect watersheds, and to nonprofits and local agencies for river parkways.

There also was money for improvements to meet safe drinking water standards.

The measure was backed by agricultural and water associations and groups devoted to conserving wetlands, fish and wildlife.

Opponents said it would have benefited special interests while siphoning money from other programs.

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2:28 p.m.

California voters have elected a new governor who reflects their left-leaning, anti-Trump attitudes.

The state’s elected Democrats and incoming Gov. Gavin Newsom have relished their roles as leaders of the “resistance” to President Donald Trump. Results from a survey show most Californians are opposed to Trump’s policies.

AP VoteCast is a nationwide survey of nearly 140,000 voters and nonvoters, including more than 3,500 voters and 600 nonvoters in California. It’s conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

It shows about two-thirds of Californians oppose a border wall and eight in 10 say immigrants living in the country illegally should have a path to legal status. Three in four say it’s the government’s responsibility to provide health care.

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2:20 p.m.

California’s outgoing Democratic governor is cautioning against being too aggressive in confronting President Donald Trump and says the deeply divided nation needs to find comity and common ground.

Gov. Jerry Brown said Wednesday that the central challenge for America is pulling together and minimizing deepening polarization.

Brown has relished the role of foil to Trump on some issues. But he’s also frustrated his party’s liberal wing, which is eager to aggressively confront Trump and enact an array of left-wing priorities.

Brown is preparing to hand off power to Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who ran on his promise to stand up to Trump and promote California’s liberal values.

Newsom took a confrontational tone toward Trump and presented California as the model for an inclusive approach to politics.

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1:34 p.m.

California voters have passed up two chances to lower taxes by rejecting a proposed repeal of a gasoline tax hike and a proposed tax break for older homeowners.

Political experts on Wednesday said the election results could highlight a greater tolerance for taxes in the nation’s most populous state, even as many of its residents bemoan the high cost of living.

Proposition 6 was a Republican-backed proposal to repeal higher fuel taxes and vehicle fees that are funding $52 billion in road fixes and transit upgrades over a decade.

Proposition 5 sought to expand a property tax break for older homeowners who move.

Four decades ago, Californians pushed back against taxes by passing a ballot initiative limiting property tax increases. Since then, the state’s politics have changed

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12:53 p.m.

A Northern California vice mayor who was widely criticized for calling gay men “fairies” was ousted from office in a landslide vote.

The Sacramento Bee reports that Ted Hickman was defeated for Dixon City Council District 2 by the city’s planning commissioner, Jim Ernest, who won 72 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election.

Hickman wrote a June 29 column in Dixon’s Independent Voice newspaper that called for a “Straight Pride” month and called gay men fairies. He also wrote that gay people have an “inferior complex.”

The column sparked immediate calls for Hickman’s resignation from residents and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

Hickman defended his comments as tongue-in cheek.

Dickman served two consecutive terms on the City Council, from 1968 to 1976, and again from 2014 to present.

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12:49 p.m.

California voters are authorizing $6 billion in bond funding for affordable housing as the state faces a severe housing shortage.

Proposition 1 passed Wednesday with 54 percent of the vote in California’s midterm election. It authorizes $4 billion in bond funding to house low-income people and veterans.

It joins Proposition 2 that passed with a wider margin and authorizes $2 billion in bond funding to house homeless people with mental illness.

The ballot measures are intended to help ease California’s housing shortage and high rates of homelessness. A third measure also aimed at alleviating the housing crisis by allowing more rent control failed.

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12:26 p.m.

Democrat Mike Levin has claimed the seat of retiring California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa.

The victory adds to Democratic control of the House and carries symbolic weight because of Issa’s nearly two-decade tenure, during which he was a chief antagonist for President Barack Obama.

Issa announced he would step down after surviving his 2016 race by 1,600 votes, as the once solidly Republican 49th District became more Democratic.

Levin, an environmental attorney, had sparred with Republican rival Diane Harkey over President Donald Trump’s agenda, global warming and immigration.

Harkey, a former state lawmaker, was endorsed by Trump.

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10:08 a.m.

Four battleground House districts in the one-time Republican stronghold of Orange County, California, remain too close to call.

National Democrats targeted four GOP-held seats that fall partly or completely in Orange County, a tract of suburbs and small cities near Los Angeles that for years was conservative holy ground.

Votes tallied so far from Tuesday’s election show Republican Young Kim holding a 3-point edge over Democrat Gil Cisneros in the 39th District.

In the 49th District, Republican Diane Harkey is trailing Democrat Mike Levin by about 5 points.

Republican Rep. Mimi Walters has a slim edge over Democrat Katie Porter in the 45th District, but 15-term Republican Dana Rohrabacher is behind Democrat Harley Rouda in the 48th District.

Counting continues Wednesday, with thousands of ballots waiting to be tallied.

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10:03 a.m.

California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter has won a sixth term despite facing federal corruption charges.

Hunter beat first-time Democratic candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar on Wednesday in a deeply red San Diego-area district.

The GOP incumbent has 54 percent of 123,000 votes cast, giving him an 8-point lead over Campa-Najjar.

Few incumbents in U.S. history have been re-elected while indicted and the race was considered a fresh test of partisanship during the era of President Donald Trump.

Campa-Najjar, a 29-year-old former Obama White House aide, was largely unknown until the race drew wide attention when Hunter and his wife were indicted in August.

The couple has pleaded not guilty to allegations of illegally spending more than $250,000 in campaign money for personal expenses — from family trips to tequila shots.

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