The polls have just ended in California’s recall of incumbent Democratic Govin Gavin Newsom in the first term, and we await the first results.
Newsom, who was overwhelmingly elected governor in 2018 in the strong blue state, faces a recall that was triggered last year mainly due to allegations that he mishandled his state’s response to the coronavirus, the worst pandemic to hit the planet. for a century.
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Ballot papers were sent last month to California’s estimated 22 million registered voters and had to be mailed or delivered before polling stations closed, at 6 p.m. 20.00 PT.
For updated results, check this map, which will be updated all night .. App users: click here.
Voters were asked two questions about the ballots for revoking Newsom.
The first question was whether the governor should be removed from office. If more than 50% support the removal of Newsom, the second question offers a list of candidates running for governor replacement. If the governor is recalled, the candidate who wins the most votes on the second question – whether it is a majority or just a small majority – will succeed for Newsom.
At a stop Tuesday afternoon in a union in San Francisco, the governor defended his actions to fight the COVID crisis, telling supporters that “we cannot stop that progress. We cannot allow the economy, not just our public health, to be affected by a wrong decision tonight. “
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While recent polls suggest a majority of Californians likely to vote in the election opposed rejecting Newsom, Conservative talk show host Larry Elder, a front-runner among the 46 replacement candidates on the ballot, was convinced the governor would be recalled.
“I do not think there will be any question about this election,” Elder said Tuesday in an interview on Fox News’ “The Story.” “I think so many people are angry about all the issues … so many people will vote yes on the recall, there will be no question about the outcome.”
The recall pressure was launched in June 2020 due to frustrations from many Californians over the governor’s restrictive response to coronavirus. The effort was driven by the state’s COVID restrictions on businesses and houses of worship, school closures and even opposition to the state’s high taxes.
Recall operations increased last fall after Newsom’s dinner at an uber-exclusive restaurant that — at best — violated rules the governor had imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The governor’s actions were widely perceived as hypocritical and the optics made Newsom look out of touch as many Californians struggled.
State election officials announced in April that the recall effort had garnered more than the approximately 1.5 million valid signatures (equivalent to 12% of the votes in the 2018 California gubernatorial election) needed to conduct the vote.
California’s lieutenant governor announced in early July that the recall election would be held on September 14. And the state Treasury Department estimated it would cost $ 276 million to hold the election.
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Newsom and his political team and allies spent the summer trying to nationalize the recall operation by characterizing it as a Republican “grip on power.” The incumbent governor over the past few months has turned to well-known and influential Democrats and progressives — including Vice President Kamala Harris, a former U.S. senator and state attorney in California, former President Obama, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts – to help in informing and motivating California Democrats to vote.
The effort culminated in an election rally in Southern California’s city of Long Beach with the largest Democratic surrogate of all – President Biden. “The eyes of the nation are on California because the decision you want to make will not only have a huge impact on California, it will resonate around the country and quite frankly – not a joke – around the world,” the president stressed. .
For the past two months, Newsom has also focused on the coronavirus pandemic – the problem that triggered the recall effort last year – to demonstrate his efforts to vaccinate Californians and warn of morbid consequences if a conservative Republican replaced him in running the state and quickly scrapped the state’s vaccine and mask mandates.
“This election is a life-and-death election,” Newsom accused at a Bay Area event with Harris last week.
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The governor also repeatedly aimed this summer at the elder, who quickly became the frontrunner among the 46 gubernatorial candidates in the recall vote after jumping into the race in mid-July. Newsom compared the 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 Elders “is even more extreme than Trump in many respects.” And the governor told a crowd at a recent rally that while Trump was defeated by Biden in the November presidential election, “we did not defeat Trumpism … it is still alive throughout the country.” And focusing on his fight, the governor said “it’s come to the state of California.”
Newsom’s strategy was simple – in the very blue state of California, where Democrats far exceed Republicans – a state he won the gubernatorial election by 24 points in 2018 – he and his allies recognized the need for strong turnout among Democrats and independents to oppose Republican voters motivated to vote in hopes of ousting the governor.
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Republicans saw the recall election as their best chance to overthrow a politician who has never lost an election in his years as mayor of San Francisco, California’s lieutenant governor and now governor – and their first chance to win a nationwide contest since victory. in the gubernatorial election in 2006 then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was a moderate Republican. Three years earlier, Democratic Gov. Gray Davis became only the second governor in American history to be successfully recalled and succeeded by Schwarzenegger, who won the recall.
Eighteen years after Davis was recalled, the big question is whether history in California will be repeated.