The recall offered Republicans their best chance in more than a decade to take the helm of the largest state in the union. But the effort was undercut when Newsom and the nation’s leading Democrats, aided by visits to California by President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, portrayed the campaign to oust the governor as a “life and death” battle against “Trumpism” and far-right anti-vaccine activists.
Conservative talk show host Larry Elder led the 46 candidates on the second question on the ballot hoping to become governor, but that became meaningless after a majority of California voters decided to keep Newsom in office.
Moments after national television networks called the election for Newsom, the governor walked into the California Democratic Headquarters in Sacramento to talk with reporters, forgoing a victory celebration as is commonplace in traditional campaigns.
Appearing resolute, Newsom cast the rejection of the recall as a vote in support “of all those things we hold dear as Californians.” His victory, he said, was a victory for science-based COVID-19 vaccines to end the pandemic and abortion rights for women, as well as economic and racial justice.
“I’m humbled and grateful to the millions and millions of Californians that exercised their fundamental right to vote and express themselves so overwhelmingly by rejecting the division, by rejecting the cynicism, rejecting so much of the negativity that’s defined our politics in this country over the course of so many years,” Newsom said.
“California has outperformed Florida, Texas, Indiana, the United States as a whole in not only health outcomes, but economic outcomes,” Newsom told reporters. “Our economy contracted at a more modest rate than those states.”
Newsom also criticized both Elder and former President Trump for saying Tuesday’s election was rigged, calling those unfounded allegations a threat to democracy and continuation of the “big lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump.
“This election fraud stuff is a crock; it’s shameful. And when I say that, I mean that,” he said.
The mood inside Larry Elder’s official election night party at the Costa Mesa Hilton remained defiant, even after nearly every major news outlet had declared the recall effort dead.
“Let’s be gracious in defeat,” Elder told his supporters a little more than two hours after polls closed. “We may have lost the battle but we are going to win the war.”
At times, Elder’s address resembled his stump speeches with a focus on crime, homelessness, housing and education — and ample shots at Newsom. He ended his speech with a teaser about his plans for California’s 2022 gubernatorial election.
“As a former radio host, let me just say this: Stay tuned,” Elder said.
More news, perspectives, etc in the comments section. See you there!