Whitman, who spent $71 million of her own money on her campaign, favors cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants and opposes amnesty. She wants to reform welfare and control state spending.
Whitman will be up against Attorney General Jerry Brown, who also served as California's governor from 1975 to 1983. He faced little opposition within the Democratic Party. He received the Democratic nomination at about 8:30 p.m.
U.S. Senate nonimations
California Republicans also selected a woman as their Senate nominee. Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina won the nomination with 56 percent of the votes.
As expected, three-term incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer clinched the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. If Fiorina defeats Boxer in November's general election, she will be the first female GOP U.S. Senator from California.
Lieutenant governor and attorney general
California voters also decided who will run for lieutenant governor this November. On the Democratic side, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom won the nomination with more than 55 percent of the votes. Newsom bested L.A. City Councilwoman Janice Hahn who won 34 percent of the votes.
In the race for state attorney general, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris won the Democratic primary with 33 percent of the votes. She will face off against Republican candidate and L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley, who won 47 percent of the votes.
California voters also voted on five propositions.
Voters overwhelmingly adopted Proposition 13, which prevent property taxes from being raised on buildings that have undergone earthquake safety improvements.
Voters also approved Proposition 14. The measure calls for changes to the primary election process, including allowing voters to vote for any candidate regardless of the voter's political party preference.
Voters defeated Proposition 15, a measure that would repeal the state ban on public funding of political campaigns.
Two other rejected measures were backed by businesses. Proposition 16, funded by Pacific Gas & Electric, would have amended the California Constitution to require local governments to get two-thirds voter approval before using tax dollars to start a power agency.
Proposition 17 was put on the ballot by Mercury Insurance to overturn a state law prohibiting insurance companies from considering a driver's insurance history to set rates. It also would allow loyalty discounts to follow customers if they switch insurance companies.
In Orange County, Sheriff Sandra Hutchens was elected to a full four-year term. She was appointed by the Board of Supervisors last summer when Mike Carona resigned under federal indictment. Hutchens, formerly an L.A. County sheriff's deputy, easily beat out former O.C. Sheriff's lieutenant Bill Hunt, who lost to Carona in 2006, and Anaheim police Deputy Chief Craig Hunter.
In Riverside County, current Sheriff Stan Sniff beat former colleague, retired Riverside County Sheriff's Deputy Frank Robles. Sniff received 63 percent of the votes, while Robles received 37 percent.
In Ventura County, Commander Geoff Dean beat out Chief Deputy Dennis Carpenter in the race for sheriff, with 60 percent of the vote. Dean will take over when current Sheriff Bob Brooks retires at the end of his third term.
The Los Angeles Unified School District will have to figure out a different way to balance its budget after Measure E failed.
It would have raised the parcel tax by $100 a year, generating $92 million for LAUSD annually for the next four years. The district is facing a budget deficit of about $640 million in the coming fiscal year.
The measure didn't get the two-thirds vote needed to pass, with 53 percent voting yes and 47 percent voting no.
It passed with 87 percent of the vote. The passage of Measure C makes it impossible for anyone to use the property for anything other than its use as a home for the annual county fair, the weekend marketplace and the equestrian center.
Measure C came about in response to the state's plan to sell the fairgrounds to raise revenue for the cash strapped state. The city of Costa Mesa is currently in talks with the state to buy the fairgrounds in a deal worth almost $100 million.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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