The polls have just closed in the recall election in California for Governor Gavin Newsom’s first Democratic term, and we are awaiting the first results.
Newsom, who was overwhelmingly elected governor in 2018 in the strongly blue state, faces a recall triggered last year mainly over accusations he mismanaged his state’s response to the coronavirus, the worst pandemic to hit the world in a century.
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The ballots were sent out last month to some 22 million registered voters in California and were due to be stamped or handed out when the polls close at 8 p.m. Pacific time.
For up-to-the-minute results, check out this map, which will be updated throughout the night. Application users: click here.
Voters asked two questions about Newsom’s recall ballots.
The first question was whether the governor should be removed from office. If more than 50% support the removal of Newsom, the second question proposes a list of candidates vying to replace the governor. If the governor is removed, the candidate who wins the most votes on the second question – whether it is a majority or a small majority – will succeed Newsom.
During a Tuesday afternoon stop at a union hall in San Francisco, the governor defended his actions to tackle the COVID crisis and told his supporters that “we cannot let this progress be blocked. We cannot. can’t allow the economy, not just our public health, to be stuck. affected by a bad decision tonight. “
CALIFORNIA’S RECALL ELECTIONS: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
While the latest opinion polls suggested that a majority of Californians likely to vote in the election opposed Newsom’s ouster, conservative talk radio host Larry Elder, the front-runner among 46 replacement candidates on the ballot, remained confident the governor would be recalled.
“I don’t think there will be any questions about this election,” Elder said Tuesday in an interview with Fox News’ “The Story”. “I think so many people are mad at all the issues… so many people are going to vote yes on the recall, there will be no questions on the outcome.”
The recall campaign was launched in June 2020 due to the frustrations of many Californians over the governor’s restrictive response to the coronavirus. The effort was fueled by the state’s COVID restrictions on businesses and places of worship, school closures, and even opposition to high state taxes.
The recall campaign jumped last fall after Newsom’s dinner at an ultra-exclusive restaurant, which – at best – bypassed rules imposed by the governor to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The governor’s actions were widely seen as hypocritical, and the optics made Newsom appear disconnected as many Californians struggled.
State election officials announced in April that the recall effort had garnered more than the roughly 1.5 million valid signatures (the equivalent of 12% of the vote in California’s 2018 gubernatorial election. ) necessary for the ballot.
The lieutenant governor of California announced in early July that the recall elections would take place on September 14. And the state’s finance ministry estimated it would cost $ 276 million to hold the election.
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Newsom, his political team and his allies spent the summer trying to nationalize the recall campaign by calling it a Republican “takeover”. The struggling governor over the past two months has turned to well-known and influential Democrats and progressives, including Vice President Kamala Harris, former US Senator and State Attorney General in California, former President Obama, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth. Warren of Massachusetts – to help educate and motivate California Democrats to vote.
The effort culminated with an election watch rally in the city of Long Beach, Southern California, with the greatest Democratic surrogate of all – President Biden. “The eyes of the nation are on California because the decision you are about to make will not only have a huge impact on California, it will reverberate throughout the nation, and frankly – no kidding – in the whole world, stressed the president.
Over the past two months, Newsom has also been shining a light on the coronavirus pandemic – the issue that sparked the recall effort last year – to tout its efforts to vaccinate Californians and warn of the morbid consequences if a conservative Republican replaced him in state leadership and quickly dropped the state vaccine and mask mandates.
“This election is a choice of life or death,” Newsom accused at a Bay Area event with Harris last week.
NEWSOM EMPHASIZES THE ATTACK HE FIGHTS TO SURVIVE THE CALIFORNIA RECALL
The governor has also repeatedly targeted Elder this summer, who quickly became the favorite among 46 gubernatorial candidates on the recall ballot after entering the race in mid-July. Newsom compared Elder to former President Trump, who, outside his Conservative base, is very unpopular in California, a state he lost to Biden by five million votes last November.
Newsom stressed last month that it is “important to focus on Larry” because he argued that Elder is “even more extreme than Trump in many ways.” And the governor told a crowd at a recent rally that although Trump was defeated by Biden in the November presidential election, “we haven’t defeated Trumpism … he’s still alive in this country.” . And highlighting his struggle, the governor said “he has arrived in the state of California”.
Newsom’s strategy was straightforward – in the very blue state of California where Democrats outnumber Republicans – a state in which he won the gubernatorial election by 24 points in 2018 – he and his allies recognized that they needed a strong turnout among Democrats and Independents to counter Republican voters. motivated to vote in the hope of overthrowing the governor.
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Republicans saw the recall election as their best chance to topple a politician who never lost an election during his years as mayor of San Francisco, lieutenant governor of California and now governor – and their first chance to win a statewide competition since winning reelection for governor in 2006 by then-Govt. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was a moderate Republican. Three years earlier, Democratic Governor Gray Davis became only the second governor in US history to be successfully removed from office and was replaced by Schwarzenegger, who won the recall election.
Eighteen years after Davis’ recall, the big question is whether California history will repeat itself.