EFELos Angeles, US

Democrat Gavin Newsom won the California gubernatorial recall election on Tuesday by a wide margin, according to US media projections.

Preliminary results, mostly from mail-in ballots, suggest that 66.8 percent of California voters (5.5 million) chose to keep the governor in office while 33.2 percent (2.7 million) wanted to recall him.

Although the in-person vote count is expected to reduce that margin, the media considers it wide enough to declare Newsom the winner.

The Republican-led recall referendum needed more than 50 percent of voters to vote in favor of Newsom's removal in order to elect a replacement by simple majority from among the 46 candidates who ran.