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Gavin Newsom Sails To Victory For Another Term As California's Governor

California Governor Gavin Newsom stands wearing a dark blue suit with a white shirt and a navy blue tie in front of a light blue podium with a text in white lettering that reads "More Housing Faster."
Gov. Gavin Newsom at a press conference in San Francisco on September 28, 2022.
(Justin Sullivan
Getty Images)

After months on the national stage playing the liberal warrior and tussling with his Republican counterparts, Gov. Gavin Newsom was looking toward reconciliation Tuesday night as he easily won re-election.

During brief remarks at a Sacramento victory party for the abortion rights initiative Proposition 1, Newsom suggested that he would aim in his second term to be a unifier in a cruel and highly polarized political landscape, where many leaders have prioritized bullying people and taking away their freedoms.

“The dream is predicated on all of us living and advancing together across every conceivable difference,” Newsom said. “We all have a responsibility to do a little bit more to meet people where they are.”

His race was called shortly after the polls closed in California at 8 p.m. Newsom appears headed toward another victory in line with his first campaign in 2018 and his defeat of a recall attempt last year, both of which the governor won by nearly 24 percentage points.

But you could be forgiven for forgetting that Newsom was on the ballot again this year.

After waltzing through the June primary, the Democratic incumbent barely acknowledged his campaign for a second and final term as California governor, outside of one low-wattage debate against Republican challenger Brian Dahle. With his focus turned to national fights — and perhaps higher office — Newsom spent more time and money helping supporters of Proposition 1.

Even in a year where the electorate is expected to tilt toward Republicans, Dahle struggled to gain traction in heavily Democratic California. The state senator from Bieber raised less than $1 million since the summer — a fraction of the nearly $6 million Newsom pulled in during the same time period — make it difficult to share his campaign message sharply criticizing Democratic policies that he argues have made California unaffordable for most residents.