But it was a somber night for Mr. Villaraigosa, who campaigned energetically and had a huge burst of financial support from fellow supporters of charter schools, including Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, and Eli Broad, the Los Angeles philanthropist.
In an emotional concession speech that seemed aimed at unifying his party, Mr. Villaraigosa congratulated Mr. Newsom and Mr. Cox and encouraged his supporters to “get behind the winner.”
“Gavin, thank you for caring enough about this state to put your hat in the ring, to run for governor in this state,” Mr. Villaraigosa, flanked by his family, told a crowd of supporters.
The contest for governor marks the end of a long chapter in California history. Mr. Brown, 80, is stepping down because of term limits. He has served two terms now — and two terms in the 1970s — and leaves office popular and generally respected. But Mr. Brown has struck a decidedly moderate note during his years in Sacramento — he was well known for pushing back at what he saw as excesses by the Legislature when it came to spending or lawmaking — at a time when energy in the Democratic Party was moving to the left.
For the general election, the map of important congressional races in California extends well beyond the Southern California seats where Democrats feared a “top two” fiasco. The party is also choosing candidates to oppose vulnerable Republicans in the Central Valley and elsewhere in the suburbs around Los Angeles, where Mr. Trump’s policies on immigration, taxes and health care have put sitting lawmakers in deep peril.
Anneliese Gelberg, 21, wanted to vote for Jess Phoenix, one of three female Democratic candidates running for the House seat in California’s 25th Congressional District north of Los Angeles. For one, Ms. Gelberg said, she was more inclined to vote for women. She also liked Ms. Phoenix’s policies.
But rather than casting her vote for Ms. Phoenix on Tuesday, she said she voted for one of Ms. Phoenix’s competitors — Bryan Caforio.
“I knew that she didn’t have a lot of backing or support,” Ms. Gelberg said, over a lunch of grilled cheese and fries. In the end, she added, she wanted a Democrat to beat the Republican incumbent, Steve Knight, and she thought Mr. Caforio had a better chance.