Gavin Newsom, John Cox Square Off in Battle for Governor as California Votes on 11 Ballot Initiatives

The governor's race in California pits a highly favored Democrat, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, against Republican John Cox, a businessman who has received the endorsement of President Trump. But the key races to watch are the battleground congressional districts where Democrats are fighting to take back the House.

The following are live updates on the 2018 midterm elections in California:

1:45 p.m.

Some voters in Los Angeles County are waiting up to two hours to cast their ballot on Election Day.

A spokesman with the Los Angeles County Registrar says the line at its headquarters in Norwalk is wrapping around the building and that wait times were at about two hours Tuesday.

Registrar spokesman Mike Sanchez couldn't immediately confirm online posts by a Los Angeles Times reporter that some people were giving up and getting out of line, while others were being handed tickets so they could use the bathroom or get food without losing their place.

The site is the only one in the vast county that allows voters to register and cast a ballot on Election Day, a fact that some complained about on social media.

Sanchez says he understands frustration by some voters and that same-day registration and voting is being expanded throughout the county and will be ready in March 2020.

___

12:55 p.m.

A nonpartisan, good-government group reports it has received nearly 800 calls from California voters experiencing problems at the polls Tuesday.

California Common Cause said the call volume is higher than in previous midterm elections and could reflect high voter turnout.

Callers reported the polling place at Mark Twain Middle School in Los Angeles had no voter rolls at 11 a.m. and voters could not cast ballots until 11:30 a.m. Voters at Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles were asked to fill out paper ballots because it had no voting machines until 10 a.m.

The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder and County Clerk did not immediately return a request for comment.

People experiencing problems voting can call the 866-OUR-VOTE Election Protection hotline.

___

12:35 p.m.

Democrats say campaign literature and some computers were taken in an early morning break-in at a Merced County campaign office.

Emily Haden, who is chairwoman of the Merced County Democratic Central Committee, said the campaign for state Senate candidate Ana Caballero was the most affected.

She said campaign mailers have been brought in from another location and that the break-in complicates what is the most important day of the campaign.

Bryan King, campaign manager for Senate Democrats, told the Merced Sun-Star that every laptop was taken from the office. He said devices used to scan voter data and personal items such as cell phones used to call voters were taken.

Merced Police Lt. Alan Ward told the newspaper that officers were called to the scene around 7 a.m. Tuesday.

___

11:45 a.m.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom has cast his ballot in Tuesday's election.

Newsom arrived at a Masonic lodge in Larkspur, north of San Francisco, with his wife Jennifer and four children. Newsom held his 2-year-old son Dutch most of the time he was at the polling site, including while he was filling out his ballot.

Newsom told reporters that he hopes to win the governor's race but that it wouldn't mean as much if Democrats don't take back the U.S. House.

Newsom says it's not a "gross exaggeration to say that Trump's declared war on California" and urged voters in the state to make it to the polls Tuesday.

Newsom is the strong favorite to win the governor's race against Republican John Cox, who's never held elected office.

___

8 a.m.

Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox began his Election Day with a family breakfast and a Tweet urging Californians to make it to the polls.

Cox, who is running against Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom in Tuesday's election, ate breakfast with his family at Milton's Deli in Del Mar, just north of San Diego.

Before he tucked in, Cox tweeted a picture with his wife Sarah and one of his four daughters. The post urged Californians to vote and said: "Change vs. status quo" with the hashtag, #HelpIsOnTheWay.

Newsom is the strong favorite in the race, since the state has 3.8 million fewer registered Republican voters than Democrats.

Cox has never held elected office.

___

7:30 a.m.

Democrats' total dominance of the state Legislature likely comes down to a single state Senate seat.

Republicans are trying to retain the seat being given up by termed-out Sen. Anthony Cannella in California's Central Valley.

Democrats are pinning their hopes in Tuesday's election on Assemblywoman Anna Caballero while Republicans fielded Madera County Supervisor Rob Poythress.

Democrats need 27 votes for a two-thirds majority in the 40-member Senate, and have 26. They need 54 votes in the 80-member Assembly, and have 55.

The biggest Assembly fight was for the seat held by Democratic Riverside County Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes.

A supermajority in both chambers would allow Democrats to raise taxes without Republican votes.

Republicans have rallied opposition to last year's gas tax hike, while Democrats fanned a backlash to President Donald Trump.

___

California voters are considering a measure that requires all eggs sold in the state to come from cage-free hens by 2022.

Dubbed the Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act, Proposition 12 would set minimum requirements on the size of cages or pens housing breeding pigs and calves raised for veal. It also would ban the sale of veal or pork in California from farms that don't comply.

Supporters say the measure is a step toward more humane farming practices, while opponents say it doesn't go far enough.

Proposition 12 seeks to build on another ballot measure that passed in 2008 — Proposition 2, which banned California farmers from keeping the same animals in tiny cages but lacked specific size requirements for the cages and pens.

It is backed by the Humane Society of the United States and a number of animal welfare groups.

The measure's opponents include animal welfare groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who say it doesn't go far enough to prevent animal cruelty.

___

It's time for Californians to decide whether they want to stop resetting their clocks twice a year.

Voters will cast ballots Tuesday on Proposition 7, the first step in an effort to create year-round daylight saving time.

Democratic Rep. Kansen Chu of San Jose says he sponsored the measure because changing the time is a hassle.

Chu also says the move has been shown to increase the risk of car accidents and heart attacks in the spring when people lose an hour's sleep.

Opponents say changing now would cause worse headaches.

If voters approve the measure, it would still need a two-thirds vote from the California Legislature and a change in federal law.

___

Voters will decide whether California borrows nearly $9 billion for water infrastructure projects in the state where its scarcity often pits city dwellers, farmers, anglers and environmentalists against one another.

Proposition 3 on Tuesday's ballot would direct the money to storage and dam repairs, watershed and fisheries improvements, and habitat protection and restoration.

Much of the $8.9 billion would be earmarked for conservancies and state parks to restore and protect watersheds, and to nonprofits and local agencies for river parkways. There also would be money to meet safe drinking water standards.

The measure is backed by agricultural and water associations and those devoted to conserving wetlands, fish and wildlife. Opponents say it benefits special interests while siphoning money from other programs.

It's the largest water bond proposed since analysts began keeping track in 1970.

___

6:15 a.m.

Californians are deciding whether to repeal an increase in fuel taxes and vehicle fees that is expected to fund $52 billion in transportation projects over a decade.

Proposition 6 on Tuesday's ballot is backed by Republicans who say life in California has become too expensive and the state should spend its money more efficiently.

Construction industry leaders and unions that oppose the initiative contend the $5 billion a year is critical to fix aging freeways and bridges and improve transit.

The Legislature, led by Democrats, passed the tax measure last year.

The repeal initiative proposed by San Diego talk radio host Carl DeMaio has been touted by Republican Congressional candidates in a bid to boost GOP voter turnout in the state where President Donald Trump has low approval ratings.

___

Californians will decide whether to allow the expansion of rent control as a solution to the state's housing crisis.

Proposition 10 would give local governments more flexibility to enact or increase rent control as the state faces a massive home shortage and soaring rents.

It's one of the most costly and contentious items on Tuesday's ballot.

The measure would overturn a state law that bars rent control on apartments built after 1995, single-family homes and condominiums. The same state law also prevents cities and counties from telling landlords what they can charge new tenants.

More than a dozen California cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, already have some rent control on older properties.

___

California voters are considering a ballot measure to restrict profits at dialysis clinics that provide vital care for people whose kidneys don't function properly.

Proposition 8 is the most expensive initiative facing California voters Tuesday as they head to polls. A health care workers union funded the $18 million campaign. Dialysis companies dropped an extraordinary $111 million to kill it.

The measure would cap profits at 15 percent of what clinics spend on patient care and quality improvement. Supporters say it will push dialysis companies to invest more in patient care. Opponents say it will force clinics to cut services or close.

Dialysis patients typically undergo treatments that last hours three times a week. Dialysis machines mimic kidney functions by filtering patients' blood outside their bodies.

___

Ending a low-key campaign with high stakes, California voters are deciding whether to expand a property tax break to older homeowners who move.

Proposition 5 on Tuesday's ballot would deliver significant benefits to people over 55 when they move and a potentially big revenue hit to schools and local governments, who rely extensively on property taxes.

Under current law, seniors and near-seniors can transfer tax assessments if their new homes are worth the same or less than the ones they sell, and they can only do it only once. Current law also limits out-of-county transfers.

Proposition 5 would allow over-55 homeowners to transfer assessments to any new home — no matter the cost — anywhere in the state as many times as they wish.

___

A Democratic heavyweight faces a Republican businessman who's never held elected office in the race for California governor.

The contest between Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Republican John Cox will determine the future of the state's aggressive resistance to President Donald Trump.

Newsom is strongly favored in a state where the GOP has 3.8 million fewer registered voters. He has pledged to continue the combative stance toward Trump and push for universal health care.

Newsom is best-known for issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples while he was San Francisco mayor, years before it was legal.

Cox has focused relentlessly on California's high cost of living. He blames Newsom and the Democrats who control the Legislature and every statewide office for high costs.

___

Californians are choosing between two Democrats in the U.S. Senate contest.

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein faces a challenge from state Sen. Kevin de Leon on Tuesday's ballot.

A Feinstein victory would keep the state's Democratic political order sharply intact. A de Leon win would be a stunning come-from-behind upset.

He has argued that California deserves a new voice in Washington who is more willing to fight for progressive values.

Feinstein says she has the experience to get things done for California and a track record to prove it.

At 85, Feinstein is the oldest U.S. senator. De Leon, who is 51, isn't directly making her age an issue. But he's argued for a "new voice" and "new vision" in Washington.

Feinstein was first elected to the Senate in 1992.

___

A string of battleground districts in California are at the center of the fight for control of the U.S. House.

Democrats need to claim 23 seats nationally to retake the House and have targeted seven GOP-held California House districts carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Among the endangered Republicans in Tuesday's elections: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in Orange County, who is seeking a 16th term.

In play are long-term political trends that have seen California grow more diverse and Democratic.

Democrats hold a 39-14 edge in House seats in the state, where the party controls every statewide office and the Legislature.

The election comes after a campaign season defined by divisions over President Donald Trump and the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment.

___

Congressman Duncan Hunter is fighting to keep his San Diego-area district seat after being indicted on corruption charges.

Hunter faces a 29-year-old, first-time Democratic opponent Tuesday in a race that has brought attention to Southern California's most Republican congressional district.

Ammar Campa-Najjar, a former Obama administration official, was largely unknown in the San Diego-area district where Hunter succeeded his father in office 10 years ago.

The race has become more competitive after Hunter and his wife were indicted by a grand jury in August on allegations of illegally spending more than $250,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses from tequila shots to family trips.

The Hunters pleaded not guilty.

The 41-year-old former Marine is one of two U.S. congressmen seeking re-election while under indictment, a rare feat in U.S. history.