• Matt Esnayra

CA Recall Election: CA Gov. Gavin Newsom fends off recall effort, will remain in office

Photo via Gov. Newsom's Twitter page

Governor Gavin Newsom unequivocally defeated a republican supported recall effort that attempted to oust him in his third year in office.

Why it matters:

The Republican-led recall might have been the last chance for the California Republican Party to win the governorship since the previous recall election in 2003 that placed Arnold Schwarzenegger in Sacramento.

  • Election night was relatively quick; the race was called three hours after the polls closed, with over 60% of ballots cast voting "No" on the first question on whether to remove Newsom from office.

  • Conservative radio talk show host Larry Elder led among the challengers looking to replace Newsom, winning every county except San Francisco.

  • For weeks, Republicans have fanned the flames of potential election fraud and ask supporters to vote in person.

  • Newsom became just the second governor in US history to overcome a recall election, solidifying his chances for a run for the White House.

  • The recall election could cost up to $300 million in taxpayer money, ABC 7.

It took a village:

  • President Biden arrival on Monday to stump in Long Beach to stump for Mr.Newsom a day before the recall election, with the president warning voters that Elder was a "clone of Donald Trump."

  • A few weeks before, Vice President Kamala Harris went to an event for Mr.Newsom in Northern California.

  • US Senator Bernie Sanders filmed a campaign ad that encouraged Californians to vote against the recall saying the effort is a "republican power grab."

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told her followers, "If you live in California, there's probably a ballot in your mailbox on a recall election," Ocasio-Cortez said. "Please find that thing, vote no, stick that sucker right back in your mailbox because the (other) options are bad."

The Republicans:

The game plan by the California Republican Party was predicated on the public's dissatisfaction with months of pandemic restrictions and lockdowns.

  • Forty-six people ran to replace Newsom as Governor, with Larry Elder taking a massive lead among the challengers, per the AP.

  • The California Republican Party opted not to endorse any candidate in the recall election.

  • Newsom framed the recall election not as a referendum on his handling of the pandemic but as the fight against Trump-like figures.

How did we get here:

The recall effort started in February 2020 but didn’t gain steam until after the lockdown of the state's economy in May to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

  • The French Laundry incident: In November, Newsom faced widespread criticism for attending a birthday dinner of a lobbyist without wearing a face-masks, a direct violation of his own COVID-19 health orders.

  • The Homeless Crisis: The homeless population grew, which was already a problem, became exacerbated due to lockdowns causing scores of tent encampments to sprung up in cities during the pandemic.

  • According to CapRadio and NPR's California Newsroom investigation, Newsom deceived the public about his office's accomplishments in wildfire prevention.

  • Unemployment fraud at the EDD: As much as $31 billion in California unemployment funds have been paid out to people defrauding the state, per ABC 7 News.

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