The Latest: California judge recall causes concern in courts
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on California primary results (all times local):
A Northern California judge’s recall for an unpopular sexual assault sentence has sparked concern in the legal community over the impact of public opinion in the courtroom.
Legal scholars, retired judges and others argue that the recall of Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky on Tuesday could lead to similar campaigns against other judges who retain their positions through elections.
A 2015 study of elected state judges by New York University’s law school concluded that judges are influenced by their election cycles. The study showed judges issuing longer sentences for serious felony conviction when they are close to re-election.
Recall campaign leader Michele Dauber said she has faith that judges will continue to rule lawfully, noting that judicial recalls are rare. Persky’s recall was the first in California since 1932.
San Francisco’s race for mayor remains too close to call Wednesday as the elections department reports it has about 90,000 more ballots to process.
Board of Supervisors President London Breed has 36 percent of first-place votes but former state Sen. Mark Leno has a narrow lead under the city’s unusual ranked-choice voting system.
The system allows voters to select their top-three favorites on the same ballot. Candidates with the least votes are eliminated in rounds until there’s a winner.
Leno and candidate Jane Kim, who is in third place, asked supporters to vote for the other as their No. 2 choice on the ballot.
Turnout in San Francisco could top 50 percent with 154,000 votes counted as of early Wednesday.
A winner likely will not be declared for days.
California state Sen. Kevin de Leon is sharpening his criticism of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein as he prepares to face her in November.
The Democrat has secured the second place slot in the general election by just a few percentage points over a little-known Republican.
De Leon says he hopes to debate Feinstein one on one.
He argues he’s pulled Feinstein to the left on issues including immigration and the death penalty. De Leon championed a single-payer health care bill in the Legislature and says he’s a more reliable vote than Feinstein for a policy such as Medicare for all.
He says the fact that Feinstein earned less than 50 percent of voters’ support in Tuesday’s primary is evidence Californians are looking for a change. With nearly 4 million votes counted she has the support of about 44 percent of voters in a 32-candidate field. De Leon has secured about 11 percent of the vote.
Feinstein strategist Bill Carrick calls de Leon’s argument “delusional.”
President Donald Trump is commending Republican John Cox for advancing to the November election for California governor.
In a tweet Wednesday morning Trump congratulated Cox “on a really big number” and said “he can win.”
Cox took second place in Tuesday’s primary behind Democrat Gavin Newsom and the two will face off in the general election. Newsom responded to Trump on Twitter saying “please come campaign for him as much as possible.”
Trump’s support helped Cox unify Republicans around his candidacy, but the president remains unpopular with a majority of Californians. Democrats have presented the Newsom-Cox matchup as a referendum on Trump.
Republican candidate Antonio Sabato Jr. has secured a second-place spot in the runoff for a congressional seat northwest of Los Angeles.
Sabato got 23 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s primary election. Democratic incumbent Julia Brownley took first place with 53 percent.
Another Republican contender, Jeffrey Burum, trailed with 20 percent in the race for the 26th Congressional District, which includes parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Sabato is an actor who spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention and was an early supporter of President Donald Trump.
A familiar face from soap operas “General Hospital” and “Melrose Place,” Sabato has said he wants to focus on issues involving veterans, foreign affairs and substance abuse.
Democrat Gil Cisneros has advanced in the contest to replace outgoing Republican U.S. Rep. Ed Royce.
Cisneros’ second place finish in Tuesday’s primary sets him up to face Republican Young Kim.
That’s welcome news for Democrats, who feared California’s unique top-two primary system could advance two Republicans to the November contest.
Cisneros is a Navy veteran and lottery winner who loaned at least $2 million to his campaign. Kim is a former Royce staffer who served one term in the state Assembly.
Democrats are targeting the Orange County district because Hillary Clinton won there in the 2016 presidential contest.
Law professor Katie Porter has emerged from a bruising Democratic fight to take on Republican U.S. Rep. Mimi Walters.
Porter is the second place finisher in Tuesday’s primary in California’s 45th District based in Orange County. She defeated Dave Min, the California Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate.
Porter is a consumer protection attorney who won endorsements from U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
The district leans Republican. But Democrats see an opening to flip it because Hillary Clinton won it during the 2016 presidential contest.
Democrats need to pick up about two dozen seats nationwide to retake the U.S. House.
Democrat Eleni Kounalakis has topped all primary contenders in the race to replace California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Kounalakis will advance to the November general election after winning the most votes in Tuesday’s primary. Returns Wednesday morning show Democrat Ed Hernandez in second place with Republican Cole Harris close behind in third place.
The November contest could be a Democrat-on-Democrat matchup if Hernandez maintains his lead as ballots continue to be counted. The top two vote-getters regardless of party advance to the general election under California’s primary election rules.
About 3.8 million votes were counted in the race by Wednesday morning. Ballots will continue coming in through Friday. As long as a ballot was postmarked by Election Day it can arrive up to three days later and still be counted.