California’s blue wave is setting up. In recent weeks there’d been much speculation as to whether California’s nonsensical top-two primary system would throw a wrench into potential sweeping victories for candidates who support workers this fall. While the top-two certainly made things interesting, pro-worker candidates up and down the ballot advanced to the general election in large part due to the efforts of thousands of union volunteers who worked nights and weekends to inform voters of the stakes of the election. That work paid off, making it a very good Election Night for working people.
California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski:
California voters chose a future prioritizing good jobs, strong public schools, affordable housing, universal access to health care and equality for all in yesterday’s primary election. Despite tens of millions of dollars spent by corporate special interests on behalf of candidates who seek to privatize education and do away with good union jobs, voters roundly rejected that approach. Once again, through boots-on-the-ground mobilization, union volunteers led the way in proving our strength in numbers overcomes the millionaires’ deep pockets.
In the governor’s race, a handful of billionaires spent $25 million through the anti-public education California Charter Schools Association in an effort to influence the race for the state’s top office. That effort failed miserably. Labor-endorsed candidate Gavin Newsom placed first by a wide margin, followed by Republican John Cox. The billionaires’ candidate, Antonio Villaraigosa, finished well behind.
Newsom’s victory is critical to maintaining California’s position as the national leader of the resistance, not only to the Trump Administration’s devastating policies, but also to the billionaire CEOs who are rigging the economy against working people. Newsom is a champion on key worker issues like expanding health care access, creating good jobs, protecting immigrants, equality for all and criminal justice reform.
We congratulate Gavin Newsom on his first-place finish in the Governor’s race and look forward to working hard in the coming months to ensure he’s elected California’s next Governor. We also congratulate all the other candidates who ran on a pro-worker platform for setting the tone that will continue our state’s progress after November.
The other big story of the night was the congressional races. Due to the top-two primary, there was a chance pro-worker Democrats could get locked out of the general election in several key races. Union volunteers in Orange County and the Central Valley made sure that didn’t happen. Democrats advanced in all contested congressional races, keeping open the possibility of major pickups in the fall that could swing the balance of power in Congress.
Labor-endorsed candidates also advanced to the general election in all state constitutional races, setting up another clean sweep for working people of California’s top offices in November.
While last night’s victories were important, it’s just the beginning. The real prize is victories up and down the ballot in the general election. Despite the billionaires’ attacks on working people’s unions, we proved once again that when working people stand together, there’s no stopping us. On to November!