LOS ANGELES (CBS SF/AP) — Declaring California “too powerful to bully,” Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom wasted little time Tuesday night gloating over winning the gubernatorial election and instead focused on state’s battle with the Trump White House.
With more than a third of precincts reporting, former San Francisco Mayor had a commanding lead over Republican challenger John Cox with 57 percent of the vote to Cox’s 43 percent.
“You stood for courage… courage for a change,” Newsome told his supporters. “And now I can stand in front of you and know I will have incredible privilege serving as your next governor. This victory is really your victory because future belongs to California Tough two years buttonight America’s biggest state is making the biggest statement in America.”
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Shortly after 10 p.m., Newsom declared a decisive victory against Cox at a gathering of supporters in Los Angeles, saying he had spoken to his Republican rival who conceded the race.
“We congratulated each other on a hard-fought race,” said Newsom. “And now I want to congratulate each and every one of you. Because you stood for courage. Courage for a change. Now I can stand before you knowing I will have the incredible privilege of serving as your next governor.”
Newsom also called for a return to dignity that, even without mentioning President Trump by name, made clear exactly who the governor elect was addressing.
“Now is the time for decency; for facts; for trust. And now is the time for truth,” Newsom said. “Now is time for leaders to lead. And to those agents of anger determined to divide us instead of unite us, it’s time to pack it up and you to pack it in.”
He presented California as “America’s coming attraction” and extolled the state’s diversity, innovative businesses and thriving economy.
“We celebrate diversity, we protect most vulnerable,” he told the cheering crowd. “Don’t put profit and loss ahead of clean air, water coastline, we don’t regulate woman’s body any more than we regulate assault weapons we don’t demean demoralize. We don’t separate families and we don’t lock kids in cages. We fight for what is right. There is reason why California’s dream.”
“The California dream is too big to fail, too powerful to bully.”
Trump has called Newsom a “clown” and disparaged the state for its policies on immigrants and the environment.
Newsom’s vanquished rival told supporters he’s proud that his campaign highlighted the people struggling with California’s high cost of living.
“I consider myself very proud that we highlighted the incredible struggle that the people have had for years under the people who are running this state,” he told his supporters. “We identified the needs of these people. The fact that they can’t afford housing the fact that they can’t afford gas, the fact that they can’t afford the basics of life and let me tell you this Republican Party will be back in this state.”
Newsom was strongly favored over Cox in a state where the GOP has 3.8 million fewer registered voters.
The job is open because Democrat Jerry Brown is termed out. The 80-year-old Brown has been governor for 16 years, first from 1975 to 1983 and then again starting in 2011 after completing a remarkable political comeback.
Newsom’s victory Tuesday means one harsh critic of President Donald Trump — current Gov. Brown — will be replaced by another in the nation’s most populous state.
Under Brown, California has taken a combative stance against Trump and his policies on immigration, health care and the environment. Newsom, 51, has pledged to continue the battle, while trying to bring about universal health care and help impoverished children.
Cox, 63, a lawyer and investor living in the San Diego area, hammered relentlessly on California’s high cost of living, for which he blamed Newsom and the Democrats who control the Legislature and every statewide office. He pledged to cut taxes and roll back environmental laws that he says delay housing construction.
© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.