Gavin Newsom will remain in the governor’s mansion after recall fails at the ballot box.
By Matthew Royer, Political News Editor
After a years-long recall election effort, California voters have their say, allowing Gov. Gavin Newsom to finish his term in office.
“No” bested “Yes” on the first question in a runaway victory, while on the second question, despite the results not being officially counted, Larry Elder (R) finished ahead of the pack of 46 candidates with a margin of more than thirty percent between him and his closest challenger. While the votes are still being tallied, the race was called by the Associated Press at 8:46 p.m. shortly after other major news outlets.
Newsom spoke shortly after the race was called in his favor.
“No is not the only thing that was expressed tonight,” Newsom said, less than an hour after polls closed. “We said yes to science. We said yes to vaccines. We said yes to ending this pandemic.”
At 10:03 p.m. Elder conceded to Newsom with a message for his supporters.
“Let's be gracious in defeat," the radio host said. "We may have lost the battle, but we are going to win the war.”
These results come after President Joe Biden visited California on Monday. Biden first observed the wildfires in Lake Tahoe, then set out to campaign for Newsom in Long Beach, giving a message to potential voters.
“Folks, send a message to the nation: Courage matters. Leadership matters. Science matters. Vote to keep Gavin. Get vaccinated to save lives,” said Biden to a crowd of hundreds, in a speech broadcast by CSPAN.
At the rally, Biden was joined by Newsom, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia (D) and San Fernando Valley native Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA).
The recall effort had sparked momentum during the beginning stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, with “Grass-roots conservatives” launching a movement to remove Newsom over “coronavirus restrictions,” according to The Washington Post.
After a judge gave the recall campaign an extra four months to collect signatures, the effort succeeded in enacting the state’s recall laws by collecting more than 1.6 million signatures.
According to Sec. Dr. Shirley Weber’s government website, “to qualify a recall of the Governor for the ballot, proponents need a minimum of 1,495,709 valid petition signatures. This is equal to 12 percent of the votes cast for the office of Governor in 2018, which is the last time the office was on the ballot.”
As previously reported by The Valley Star, voters went to the polls or voted by mail to answer two questions listed on the ballot.
The first question placed on the ballot presented a yes or no question, “Shall GAVIN NEWSOM be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?”
If a majority of voters voted in the affirmative, Gov. Newsom would have been removed from the office of governor. His replacement would have been selected based upon the result of the second question on the ballot.
The second question asked, “Who shall replace GAVIN NEWSOM if he is recalled?”
The candidates listed in this question included statistical frontrunner radio-host Larry Elder (R) - who was seen as the top candidate to replace Newsom, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), YouTuber Kevin Paffrath (D) and former gold-medal winning Olympian Caitlyn Jenner (R) among others.
Elder, who already had conceded defeat, echoed former President Donald Trump and claimed he had detected fraud on his website Monday, according to New York Magazine.
This was done despite the election occurring the day after and Elder himself still campaigning for the position of governor.
Newsom is up for reelection in November of 2022, with a top-two primary election occurring on June 22. While Faulconer has already declared his candidacy for the office, Elder still has not announced whether he will seek the office of governor once more.
As for the recall process, Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) announced on his Twitter Monday night that he and Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) would be meeting to introduce constitutional amendments in the state legislature to “fix a broken recall system.”
Towards the end of his remarks, Newsom gave a warning for those he felt abused the recall system.
“Politics isn’t a football, you don’t throw it around,” said Newsom. “It’s more like an antique vase. It can drop and smash into a million different pieces.”