California Recall Newsom
California Gov Gavin Newsom addresses reporters after beating back the recall attempt that aimed to remove him from office, at the John L. Burton California Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento, Calif, on Tuesday. Photo: AP//Rich Pedroncelli
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California's Democratic Gov Gavin Newsom stays in power as recall fails

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By KATHLEEN RONAYNE and MICHAEL R. BLOOD

California Gov Gavin Newsom on Tuesday became the second governor in U.S. history to defeat a recall aimed at kicking him out of office early, a contest the Democratic governor crafted as part of national battle for his party’s values in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and lingering threats from “Trumpism.”

The victory cements Newsom as a prominent figure in national Democratic politics and preserves his prospects for a future U.S. run. It also ensures the nation’s most populous state will remain in Democratic control as a laboratory for progressive policies on immigration, climate change, representation and inequality.

“'No' is not the only thing that was expressed tonight," Newsom said at a news conference. “I want to focus on what we said ‘yes' to as a state: We said yes to science, we said yes to vaccines, we said yes to ending this pandemic.”

A Republican almost certainly would have replaced Newsom had the recall succeeded, bringing a polar opposite political worldview, though they would have had to contend with a state Capitol dominated by Democrats.

The recall, which turned on Newsom’s approach to the pandemic, mirrored the nation’s heated political divide over business closures and mask and vaccine mandates, and both parties will dissect its outcome heading into the 2022 midterm elections.

President Joe Biden sought validation of the Democratic Party’s approach of tighter restrictions and vaccine requirements, urging Californians to show the nation that “leadership matters, science matters.” The race also was a test of whether opposition to former President Donald Trump and his right-wing politics remains a motivating force for Democrats and independents.

“We defeated Donald Trump, we didn’t defeat Trumpism. Trumpism is still alive, all across this country,” Newsom said as he campaigned in a state that the former president lost by 29 percentage points.

Republicans had hoped for proof that frustrations over months of pandemic precautions would drive voters away from Democrats. They also searched for evidence that voters were tiring of liberal leadership. Democrats have controlled every level of government in California for more than a decade, a period marked by a housing crisis and the increasingly damaging effects of climate change. Republicans won back four U.S. House seats last year, success that leaders hoped had indicated revived signs of life.

But a recall election is an imperfect barometer — particularly of national trends. Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2-to-1 in California, so the results may not translate to governors in toss-up states or reflect how voters will judge members of Congress next year. That the unusual contest was held at the tail end of summer meant some voters weren’t even tuned in.

Voters were asked two questions: Should Newsom be recalled, and, if so, who should replace him? Only a handful of the 46 names on the replacement ballot had any level of public recognition, but most failed to gain traction with voters.

Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder held a commanding lead on the second question and appeared all but certain to end the race with the votes needed to have replaced Newsom had the recall been a success.

He had entered the race just three months before Election Day and quickly rose to the top of the pack. But that allowed Newsom to turn the campaign into a choice between the two men, rather than a referendum on his performance.

Newsom seized on Elder’s opposition to the minimum wage and abortion rights as evidence he was outside the mainstream of California. The governor branded him as “more extreme than Trump,” while Biden called him “the closest thing to a Trump clone I’ve ever seen.”

Though the contest didn’t quite bring the circus-like element of California’s 2003 recall — when voters replaced Democratic Gov. Gray Davis with Republican movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger — it featured quirky moments of its own.

Reality TV star and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner entered the race but gained little momentum and left the state for part of the campaign to film a reality show in Australia. Businessman John Cox, who lost badly to Newsom in 2018, tried to spice up his campaign by hiring a live bear to join him, branding himself as the “beast” to Newsom’s “beauty.” The best known Democrat on the replacement ballot was a 29-year-old YouTube star who dispenses financial advice to his followers.

Though Newsom defeated the recall, he may soon be running against Elder again: The governor is up for reelection next year, and the primary, which puts candidates from all parties on one ballot, is just nine months away.

The recall, initiated by an amateur political organizer, wasn’t the first attempt to oust Newsom, and it began as an expression of frustration over Democrats’ grip on power. But when Newsom issued the nation’s first statewide stay-at-home order, the pandemic became the race’s driving force.

Recall organizers needed about 1.5 million signatures — California has 22 million registered voters — to make the ballot. They owe their success in part to a single day in November, when a judge gave them four extra months to gather signatures due to the pandemic.

That same day, Newsom attended a birthday party with friends and lobbyists at the lavish French Laundry restaurant, a gathering that violated his pandemic rules. The episode spiraled into a public relations disaster.

Supporters of the recall expressed frustration over months-long business closures, restrictions that kept most children in distance learning for a full academic year, and the confusing patchwork of rules that governed how people could gather with friends and family. Rising homicides, an unabated homelessness crisis and an unemployment fraud scandal further angered Newsom’s critics.

But the broader public stayed on Newsom’s side. Polling from the Public Policy Institute of California showed his approval rating remaining above 50% throughout the pandemic. With weeks to go, the institute’s poll showed 60% of Californians approved of Newsom’s handling of the pandemic.

In the early months of his campaign, Newsom declared California was “roaring back” from the virus, and he used a windfall of tax dollars to dole out billions for programs from child education to homelessness. Middle- and low-income Californians got checks of up to $1,100 each.

The rise of the highly contagious delta variant over the summer dampened Newsom’s positive messaging, as he began to frame the race as one of “life or death” consequences. He pointed to Texas and Florida, which were seeing worsening surges as their Republican governors rejected mask and vaccine mandates, as cautionary tales for what California could become. When Texas’ new law banning most abortions took effect Sept. 1, Newsom’s comparison with the GOP state only became more stark.

Newsom’s administration has mandated children wear masks in schools and is requiring all health care workers to get vaccinated. Teachers and government employees must be vaccinated or tested regularly. Ace Smith, one of Newsom’s political consultants, said before the race concluded that he believed it would provide Newsom — and the Democratic Party — a “clear mandate” for “sanity” on public health.

The party’s biggest luminaries stepped out for Newsom, highlighting the national stakes. Beyond Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former President Barack Obama appeared in state or in campaign ads to help Newsom drive up turnout.

National Republican leaders largely kept the contest at arm’s length. Trump barely commented on the race until the final days, when he suggested with no evidence that the results would be rigged because of mail-in balloting. One of the recall’s original organizers said his comments would do more harm than good.

In the closing days, Elder’s campaign echoed Trump’s messaging, saying he expects “shenanigans” and linking to a website insinuating Newsom had already won the election due to fraud. The site included language from a petition circulated to help Trump’s effort to overturn last year’s presidential election, but that wording was removed by Tuesday afternoon.

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, once considered the party’s best hope to win back statewide office given his record in a Democratic city, failed to find his niche with voters, struggling to appeal to both the party’s base and the broader electorate. Elder immediately captured attention from the party’s conservative grassroots, but he also alienated independents and Democrats who may have considered a vote against Newsom.

Newsom has been viewed as a potential White House contender since at least 2004, when he defied federal law to issue marriage licenses to LGBT couples as mayor of San Francisco. His victory maintained those prospects, though he will still have to navigate around the ambitions of Harris, who came up through San Francisco politics alongside Newsom.

Newsom came to the contest with advantages — it was his to win or lose. California’s electorate is less Republican, less white and younger than it was in 2003, when voters booted the Democratic Davis. Newsom was allowed to raise unlimited funds, dwarfing his competitors while flooding TV screens with advertising. Public worker unions and business and tech executives poured millions into his campaign.

The GOP had looked to build on its four congressional wins in 2020 and recruited tens of thousands more volunteers to campaign for the recall. Voter turnout and the recall results in the four Southern California districts, in Orange County and the Los Angeles suburbs, will offer an early indication of the party’s ability to hold the seats next year.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

44 Comments

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lol

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

bass4funkToday  01:44 pm JST

> > With Biden at the helm and as his numbers continue to plummet and with the out of control borders and the disastrous pullout from Afghanistan, I doubt it.

What are your thoughts about Newsom spanking Elder? I’m slightly surprised you went for Biden bashing instead of unfounded claims of voter fraud.

0 ( +13 / -13 )

Haha, nice.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

I lived in California around 2000 and the sky high housing prices were already a problem more than 10 years old. Has only gotten worse. LA has almost 50,000 homeless, probably 10x more than all of Japan. I think Gavin is a charismatic guy, but he is just enjoying the status quo. I read he sold his house in Marin County recently for 5 million dollars, after paying 2.5 million a few years ago, so he profited more than the average worker makes his entire life. He is part of the problem.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

With Biden at the helm and as his numbers continue to plummet and with the out of control borders and the disastrous pullout from Afghanistan, I doubt it.

You know who didn’t have numbers? Who plummeted? Larry Elder, that’s who.

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

Rigged ! Lol the freakshow Trump candidates are the comedy gift that keeps on giving....

1 ( +12 / -11 )

the nation’s most populous state will remain in Democratic control as a laboratory for progressive policies on immigration, climate change, representation and inequality.

I hear that some people leave California for places like Florida and Texas; is that because of some depopulation policy they have been trying out there as part of the climate change thing?

4 ( +10 / -6 )

No hysterical meltdowns about voter fraud yet?

How disappointing.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

I'm surprised they didn't recall Newsom, he doesn't seem to be doing a good job at all.

For example, San Fransisco is horrendous. A real twilight zone with all the homeless people eking out an existence amongst the newly minted technocracy who still live in little boxes themselves. Shoplifting is decriminalised so people just fill a trolley and walk out. I couldn't believe it when I went, actually witnessing a civilisation in badly managed decline

4 ( +14 / -10 )

fxgaiToday  05:08 pm JST

> I hear that some people leave California for places like Florida and Texas; is that because of some depopulation policy they have been trying out there as part of the climate change thing?

No, it’s because of housing prices.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

That’s a known area for not biased to Trump support, therefore such a recall hasn’t any chance right from the beginning. Maybe if the next attempt is in plain Spanish or easy English for all the intellectual disadvantaged there, an outcome would become more open. lol

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Well California, you made your bed, now lie in it. And expect a mass exodus of sensible people to leave the state, further eroding the tax base and turning the state into a Democrat hellhole.

1 ( +15 / -14 )

No, it’s because of housing prices.

Interesting.

So it sounds then that the poorer people without a home are the ones leaving then?

(The ones with homes will be rich like bandits.)

So where are all those immigrants mentioned living? Are the becoming the homeless ones also mentioned?

Trying to understand the entire system in California…

0 ( +9 / -9 )

In the recall, instigated by the GQP, during an off year when they expected pro-Newsome turnout to be low, Gavin won by nearly 2:1 or by a greater proportion than his initial election victory.

Seems like the citizens of CA have spoken. I couldn't help but notice that the "report fraud" button has disappeared from Larry's website.....

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

More time and money wasted by Republicans. How about just dumping the recall system, which is not used in many states anyway?

0 ( +9 / -9 )

I'm surprised they didn't recall Newsom, he doesn't seem to be doing a good job at all.

Looks like the electorate of California disagree or at least see him as the lesser of a few evils.

Blaming the opposition in these cases is often useful. Larry Elder was spectacularly unelectable.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

P. Smith and Jimizo, the election was vote by mail because delta makes it hard to leave the house, as you know. Never mind the tens of thousands of fans packed in stadiums screaming their heads off.

Maybe it doesn’t make a difference for Elder tonight, but the only way to prove voting integrity for is to look at evidence that was found. With so much confidence that 2020 was legitimate, why the hesitation to review evidence?

You’re smart enough to know the answer.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

Maybe it doesn’t make a difference for Elder tonight, but the only way to prove voting integrity for is to look at evidence that was found. With so much confidence that 2020 was legitimate, why the hesitation to review evidence?

Elder got trashed. There is evidence that he lost so so badly because of voter fraud? Should be easy to find with such a huge margin and high voter participation.

Or maybe just deal with it, congratulate the winner and try again next time.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

You’re smart enough to know the answer.

Because Larry got beaten like a rented mule.

That's the answer. He is an anathema to CA voters.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

the only way to prove voting integrity for is to look at evidence that was found.

Look for the evidence of voter fraud that was found? Sure thing, it'll take zero seconds.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

That's the answer. He is an anathema to CA voters.

and not a single solitary time did you denounce or apologize for your party's racist actions against Elder. It says a lot.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Like Express sister said: because there was none.

Elder was a historically bad candidate and scared the living hell out of a vast majority of CA voters. They had a choice and decided to keep the Governor.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

and not a single solitary time did you denounce or apologize for your party's racist actions against Elder. It says a lot.

More identity politics from the right? Sigh. One day, I hope you'll learn about the issues, instead of resorting to typical SJW race carding.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

fxgaiToday  05:24 pm JST

> Interesting.

So it sounds then that the poorer people without a home are the ones leaving then?

The ones who aren’t too poor to be homeless.

(The ones with homes will be rich like bandits.)

So where are all those immigrants mentioned living? Are the becoming the homeless ones also mentioned?

Trying to understand the entire system in California…

California is slightly larger than Japan. People are leaving the populated areas such as LA and San Fran because housing prices there are too high.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Happy DayToday  05:44 pm JST

Maybe it doesn’t make a difference for Elder tonight, but the only way to prove voting integrity for is to look at evidence that was found. With so much confidence that 2020 was legitimate, why the hesitation to review evidence?

There is no hesitation to review evidence; there simply isn’t any evidence to review. If there had been any significant fraud in the 2020 election, we’d know about it by now given the numerous fishing expeditions the GQP have gone on without luck.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

California needs more affordable accommodations funded by the big tech companies whose employees drove up the rents.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Because I know of no instance in which there were racist actions taken against him

sure, of course you dont know about it, but it happened.

You just totally missed a white woman in a gorilla mask throwing things at his head and then media repeating that he is "white supremacy in blackface" over and over again.

Your media actually said a Black man was in "blackface". But I am to believe that you missed it, somehow.

Regardless, he lost and seeing as it is California, its not a big surprise nor any huge win. But yeah, Newsom won. But California lost.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

BlacklabelToday  06:45 pm JST

sure, of course you dont know about it, but it happened. 

You just totally missed a white woman in a gorilla mask throwing things at his head and then media repeating that he is "white supremacy in blackface" over and over again. 

Your media actually said a Black man was in "blackface". But I am to believe that you missed it, somehow.

All unfortunate, but not the actions of the Democratic Party, which means the democrats were racist towards Elder.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

sure, of course you dont know about it, but it happened. 

You just totally missed a white woman in a gorilla mask throwing things at his head and then media repeating that he is "white supremacy in blackface" over and over again. 

Your media actually said a Black man was in "blackface". But I am to believe that you missed it, somehow. 

Using the actions of one idiot to describe an entire political party and “your” media whatever that is, is quite a desperate stretch, no?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Many badmouth California, but know this: the state is a magnet for the desperate of other states. Ask a homeless person where they're from and they'll likely say Montana or Utah - or Alaska. And we have to take care of them. We do our best and are compassionate, but remember that the problem does not come from within our community.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Congratulations Newsome. I look forward to the status quo.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

You just totally missed a white woman in a gorilla mask throwing things at his head and then media repeating that he is "white supremacy in blackface" over and over again. 

Your media actually said a Black man was in "blackface". But I am to believe that you missed it, somehow.

Obviously a GOP plant. The Supreme Court will prove it.

Any day now.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Of course he won. Was there ever any doubt? California is 2:1 Democrat majority.

This was just a Republican publicity stunt that cost US taxpayers millions of dollars. What a waste o time and money. No wonder the republicans are the minority party.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Just look at what the GOP has become....

"I don't want to wear a mask - you can't make me....whaa.....whaa...."

"I won't take my vaccine - its full of microchips.....whaa....whaa....."

"We didn't lose the election - it was rigged and stolen from us....whaa....whaa...."

They might as well change GOP to CTP - Crying Towel Party....

5 ( +9 / -4 )

This recall and the popularity of Elder 

You're going to be really upset when you find out the result of the recall election.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

This article is about Newsome and Elder and a race in California

Elder helped Newsome stay in office and this is good news for Elders ratings on his show. Elder got exactly what he wanted. He never wanted to be governor. He's a scammer

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Hahaha “legalized crime”! If it’s legal, it isn’t a crime, ya dingus.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Huh. Guess I was right. Newsom didn’t just win, he CRUSHED the recall. 64% to 36%. If that doesn’t give him a political mandate, I dunno what does. They didn’t even have to go to the second question. Elder never even got to the starting line. It’s absolutely hilarious that anyone thought a Trumpist was going to win ANYTHING in California.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Face fact: democratic policies—which are Newsome’s—are destroying the country.

Can you be specific?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Elder and Caitlyn are representatives of what the GOP has turned into today, clueless people who rely on their divisiveness to get them votes.

And boy do they fall hard, ROFL!!!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

No serious issues with this recall.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/gop-pushes-unfounded-fraud-claims-041203343.html

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Enjoy the rest of your evenings or days, whichever it may be. Stay safe, all.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Enjoy the rest of your evenings or days, whichever it may be. Stay safe, all.

peace out dawg.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

What are your thoughts about Newsom spanking Elder?

Nothing. I knew it was an uphill battle for Elder, I would have been more surprised if Elder had one. But the fact that Newsom had to bring the heaviest guns out to outspend Elder showed that the Dems were definitely worried if they had to go through all of that, not to mention that Harris didn't care about the climate having to fly and spew all of that fume into the atmosphere just for 10 min are you kidding me. The good outcome that got my attention was the fact that a lot of Hispanics don't support Newsom and that is something the GOP can capitalize on in the future, focus on winning small and local elections and win big later. Newsom won the battle, he didn't win the war in the long run. I personally don't care what or who the people vote for, they have to deal with the aftermath, I don't live there thankfully so I don't care, but because I was born and raised there I do care a little, but as we are seeing more and more middle class leave in record numbers, the poor and the illegals will have to deal with living in a fast-growing crime-ridden State and when you have another gem of a politician like Gascon (another beaut) that refuses to prosecute criminals, it's just a matter of time before the people push for a change and maybe tonight wasn't that night, but next year, no Recalls to worry about, so there is a lot of room for growth and for the GOP or Elder to work with.

https://californiaglobe.com/articles/the-latino-vote-and-the-recall-why-a-majority-of-california-latinos-favor-ousting-newsom/

I’m slightly surprised you went for Biden bashing instead of unfounded claims of voter fraud.

I'm not bashing Biden other than once again, Trump is nowhere on the ticket or anywhere to be found, but since the left can't brag about the lack of accomplishments from Newsom, hit Trump and maybe Reagan and Bush for extra good measure. I am just happy that the man has one year and a half and that gives the GOP or even Elder enough time to get his name out and energize the GOP base, hit the Latino vote, and focus on the key issues of what he would do better than Newsom....which really isn't hard to do....

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

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