The grim scenario California Republicans feared -- that they'd have to choose between two Democrats for California governor this fall -- has been averted. Republican businessman John Cox finished second behind Democrat Gavin Newsom in a crowded field of candidates from both parties.
Newsom -- California's lieutenant governor -- easily took first place, gaining 35 percent of the vote with 95 percent of the precincts counted. Polls had long shown Newsom comfortably in the lead.
But the anticipated nailbiter of whether Cox or Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa would come in second turned out to be far less close than expected. Cox got 28 percent, while Villaraigosa -- the former mayor of Los Angeles -- got only 14 percent. Villaraigosa edged out Republican Travis Allen, who got 10 pecent. Democrats John Chiang and Delaine Eastin brought up the rear, with 9 and 3 percent, respectively.