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Republicans recall state senator over gas tax vote

California Republicans knocked off a freshman state senator in Orange County, recalling Democrat Josh Newman after a campaign that focused almost entirely on his vote to support a 12-cent-per-gallon gas tax.

With 77 percent of precincts reporting, the recall effort had passed by a 20-point landslide. Republican assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang led in the simultaneous election to replace Newman. A victory by her would end the Democratic supermajority in Sacramento through the end of the year, though the legislature had little work ahead of it.

The campaign against the gas tax is expected to be central to the Republicans’ November campaign in California. But Democrats, who had panicked that the recall vote would hurt their campaign to get a Democrat through the primary in the overlapping 39th Congressional District, were less worried as the votes rolled in; Gil Cisneros, the candidate backed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, had strengthened his second-place position as votes were counted across Orange County.

Live primary results: South Carolina, Virginia, Maine, North Dakota and Nevada

Voters in five states will pick their nominees in House, Senate and gubernatorial races Tuesday, although some of the nominees in November’s most closely watched races are expecting little drama. For that, the parties are nervously monitoring primaries in a half-dozen House seats, with highly touted challengers, once-safe incumbents and ideological insurgents fighting to change what their parties stand for.