Republican John Cox entered the only scheduled debate in the campaign for California governor on Monday as an underdog in need of a race-altering breakthrough. He didn't get it.
Instead, at a time when politics in Washington and across the nation are marked by bitter partisan fights, the hour-long radio debate between Cox and Democrat Gavin Newsom remained civil, with the candidates sparring on policy and mostly avoiding personal attacks.
Cox, a businessman from the San Diego area, batted away questions about his past statements opposing gay marriage and declined to take a position on the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
He stuck closely...