Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom of California was elected governor of the nation’s most populous state Tuesday night, defeating Republican John Cox.
Newsom, 51, handily defeated Cox, a businessman, to keep the California seat for the Democrats. He will succeed term-limited Democratic incumbent Jerry Brown.
With 34 percent of precincts reporting, Newsom held 56 percent of the vote while Cox trailed at 43 percent.
A former mayor of San Francisco, Newsom held a sizeable lead over Cox heading into Tuesday’s vote.
Newsom led in polls and fundraising in a state where Democrats hold every statewide office, both chambers of the Legislature and a 3.7 million edge in voter registrations.
Newsom has said he would expand Brown’s criminal justice reforms, which reduced sentences for some offenses, particularly drug crimes.
He has also advocated immigration reforms that would help immigrants illegally living in California. In addition to opposing a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, Newsom has suggested expanding benefits and legal defenses against deportation.
California has not elected two consecutive Democrats to serve as governor since George Stoneman and Washington Bartlett in the 1880’s.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates. The Associated Press contributed to this report.