After Tuesday’s recall election, California Governor Gavin Newsom will remain in office to finish his term. Newsom avoided a loss that would have made Democrats across the country antsy ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
Newsom began his term as governor in 2018. This marks the sixth time the public has recalled Governor Newsom and the first time reaching the number of signatures needed to trigger an election.
The recall effort began after California conservatives were frustrated with Newsom’s track record on taxes, the death penalty, immigration and homelessness. The recall gained heavy momentum late last year with rising frustrations with his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In February, the recall efforts gained momentum when Governor Newsom was spotted at the upscale restaurant French Laundry without any face coverings after he restricted indoor activities.
Many people stormed to social media to express their frustrations and tell the governor that his actions were hypocritical. Former mayor Kevin Faulconer tweeted, “His kids can learn in person. But yours can’t. He can celebrate birthday parties. But you can’t. He can dine on a $350 meal at one of California’s fanciest restaurants during the worst recession in generations. But you definitely can’t.” he said. “Can you believe this? I can’t.”
Many Democrats have supported Newsom throughout the past year. Former President Barack Obama and Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren came out with advertisements against the recall efforts. Current President, Joe Biden, and Vice President, Kamala Harris, rallied to support Newsom. According to CBS, the Democratic party has spent more than $6 million overall to beat the recall.
Democrats portrayed the recall as a right-wing power grab, while the Republicans campaigned on the hypocrisy of the Democrat party. There were 46 candidates on the recall ballot and, Republican radio-talk show host Larry Elder led the Republicans in polling since entering the race.
Elder ran based on ending mask mandates and the re-opening of schools. These efforts fell too short with Democrats outnumbering the Republicans 2 to 1, reported CNN. As the polling locations tallied and closed across California late Tuesday night, top conservative candidate Larry Elder conceded to Governor Newsom.
“Let’s be gracious in defeat. We may have lost the battle, but we are going to win the war.”
Newsom, late Tuesday, took the stage in Sacramento, CA, to thank his supporters for keeping him in office.
“We said yes to science. We said yes to vaccines. We said yes to ending this pandemic. We said yes to people’s right to vote without fear. We said yes to women’s constitutional right to decide.”
An NBC exit poll showed that people who favored Newsom, 43% thought the pandemic was the top issue. Subsequent issues included homelessness at 21%, wildfires at 18%, the economy at 9% and crime at 2%.
As the year comes closer to the end, Democrats and Republicans are racing to start campaigning for the 2022 midterms. California Democrats are hopeful that this is a model for next year’s midterms since the state has trouble with voter attendance on non-presidential elections.