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California delivers big lead to Clinton, disappointment to Sanders

Candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders participate in the MSNBC Democratic Candidates Debate at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on Feb. 4, 2016.

Late results from Tuesday's California primary left many races unresolved, but the one contest most watched across the country was clear: Democrat Hillary Clinton scored a large lead over rival Bernie Sanders in a race that polls had projected would be a squeaker.

The two candidates had barnstormed across California in recent months in an intense battle to win the country's most populous state, giving the victor considerable political momentum going into the Democratic convention in July.

Clinton had already secured the number of pledged delegates she needed Tuesday with a win in New Jersey, but California still mattered: a loss would have been an embarrassing blow to the frontrunner's campaign and a Sanders win would substantially boost his cause, if only to influence the party platform and change party rules.

Sanders vowed to fight on until the convention.

U.S. Senate

State Attorney General Kamala Harris effectively trounced Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez in the U.S. Senate race to succeed Barbara Boxer. But the two will face off in the November general election under California's top-two election system.

Harris struck a conciliatory tone after initial results showed her in the lead Tuesday night.

"As we go through the next five months, we’re probably going to continue to hear a lot of that rhetoric that tries to divide us," she said, "...instead of understanding that instead, we should be embracing and wrapping our arms around each other."

Sanchez, who had taken on the underdog role after major endorsements went to Harris, told supporters: "It's been an exciting campaign and we're getting ready for round two. So we need all ... to be with us."

L.A. County Supervisors

In the all-important contest for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors District 4 seat (South Bay and stretching east to Diamond Bar) now held by Don Knabe, Congresswoman Janice Hahn appeared close to winning the post outright with 47.3 percent of the vote, but maybe not close enough. She needed 50 percent of the vote plus one to secure the win and prevent a November runoff.

"Election days for me are long and they're nerve-wracking," Hahn said as she waited for results Tuesday night. "You've done everything you can at this point and you just really have to wait."

Steve Napolitano was second to Hahn with 37 percent of the vote, followed by Ralph Pacheco with 15.7 percent support from those voting.

Eight candidates sought the second contested supervisor's seat on the board, District 5, currently held by Michael Antonovich and covering North L.A. County. Kathryn Barger, chief of staff to Antonovich, led the pack with almost 29.8 percent of the vote in the latest numbers.

Barger said she didn't discount Antonovich's popularity in explaining her showing. "But it’s also been about helping people understand who I am," she said.

She was followed by Darrell Park and Bob Huff in a tight race for second with 15 percent and 14.9 percent respectively. Ara Najarian, Mitchell Englander, Elan Carr, Billy Malone and Rajpal Kahlon trailed behind.

The top two voter-getters will move on to the general election.

Ballot measures

Voters approved several ballot proposals, including Proposition 50, the statewide measure laying out how lawmakers can be suspended.

Measure A, which would establish an Orange County ethics commission, had strong support with 70 percent of voters approving and all but five of 1,597 precincts reporting.

Another Orange County proposal, Measure B, calls for a fiscal impact statement for any ballot measure. Preliminary returns show 85.9 percent of voters supporting the measure.

In Long Beach, a pair of ballot measures to raise the city’s sales tax over 10 years and create a rainy day fund using new tax revenues both have strong leads.

Measure A had 59.5 percent of votes. The measure would raise the city’s retail sales tax by 1 percent for six years then half of 1 percent for four years. The tax would expire after 10 years. The funds would go into the city’s general fund.

Measure B had 57.4 percent of votes. The measure would set aside 1 percent of new tax revenues in a rainy day fund that would protect city services in future recessions, according to the measure’s backers.