California Governor Gavin Newsom will remain in office, after pushing back a historic recall election that called into question his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and allegedly altered the political balance of the state and the country as a whole.
The results of the special election were announced by US television networks and the Associated Press on Tuesday evening, with the first results showing that Newsom easily won the support of the majority of voters.
“I am honored and grateful to the millions and millions of Californians who exercised their basic right to vote,” Mr. Newsom said in a victory speech in the state capital, Sacramento.
The governor beat a field of more than 80 candidates in the recall, only the second in state history to appear on the ballot, including provocative Conservative radio host Larry Elder, who went on to become the main challenger at the end of the race.
Taking a page from Donald Trump’s book, the Elder campaign has begun unfounded insisting that the competition was rigged even before the votes are over.
The campaign set up an online forum where Californians could report incidents of perceived fraud, and also claimed without evidence that they had “detected fraud” during the election “which resulted in the governor’s reinstatement. Gavin Newsom as governor, “although the vote totals had not yet been publicly announced.
Mr. Trump joined the conspiracy heap, claiming without proof on Monday that “millions upon millions of postal ballots will make just another giant election scam, no different, but less blatant, than the presidential election scam of 2020!”
Despite an unstable August in which the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ recall votes were passed roughly evenly, the governor was expected to score an easy victory and ran in Tuesday’s election with an expected margin of victory of. more than 15 percent. A phalanx of prominent allies including President Biden, Vice President Harris and U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren have also joined the California governor for last-minute campaign support.
Efforts to recall Mr Newsom, the former liberal mayor of San Francisco, began almost immediately when he took office as governor in 2019, though none of the campaigns by pro-Trump groups have succeeded in garnering a large audience throughout the state.
The governor enjoyed wide support statewide at the start of the pandemic, winning high praise for being the first state in the country to order lockdown and enjoying a 64% approval rate as of September 2020.
Things took a dramatic turn when footage was leaked of Mr Newsom having dinner without a mask at a lobbyist friend’s birthday party at The French Laundry, a luxury restaurant in Napa, though many businesses in across the state remained closed or restricted. (The governor has since apologized.)
His support has fallen less than half of the state in a few weeks. The recall campaign, led by a former Yolo County Sheriff’s sergeant named Orrin Heatlie, suddenly gained momentum and garnered a total of 1.7 million signatures in a short period of time.
Republicans have come out of the woods to challenge Mr. Newsom’s grip on the deeply blue state, including Kevin Faulconer, former San Diego mayor; John Cox, a businessman from San Diego; and Caitlyn Jenner, reality TV personality and former Olympic athlete.
None of them, especially with Mr. Elder’s ascendancy, had a great chance of winning on the crowded ground, political insiders have said The independent. The state has become even more democratic since voters recalled Democrat Gray Davis in favor of Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003.
“Part of the challenge for Republicans for decades at this point is that none of them have a platform to create statewide name identification and recognition,” Jason Roe, a Republican consultant who previously worked for former Republican San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, noted before the elections.
The governor framed the recall effort, which has grown in importance amid waves of outrage over coronavirus shutdown measures, as part of a broader fight against right-wing ideology taking control of American politics.
“We defeated Trump last year, and thank you, but we did not defeat Trumpism,” Governor said noted several times during the home stretch of his recall campaign. “Its a question of life or death.”
If Mr. Newsom had lost, it would have been a blow to the largely Democratic state and potentially shifting the balance of the United States Senate if one of the senators from California resigned and a temporary successor was appointed by the governor.
Political observers were also concerned that other candidates like Mr. Elder appeared to copy former President Trump’s strategy of casting doubt on the integrity of the electoral system to cover obvious losses at the polls.
“It really becomes the standard GOP playbook,” Lee Drutman, senior researcher at the New America think tank that studies democracy, told NBC News. “This is democracy 101. If you don’t have an accepted and decisive election, then you don’t really have a democracy, because the alternative is violence or authoritarianism.
Mr Newsom will not have too much time to rest, however: he is a candidate for re-election in 2022.
The Independent Gt