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Politics Gov. Gavin Newsom easily survives California recall election, AP projects

07:15  15 september  2021
07:15  15 september  2021 Source:   news.yahoo.com

Newsom's nightmare: How one November day fueled the recall

  Newsom's nightmare: How one November day fueled the recall SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — On a single day last November, two events helped set the course for just the second recall election against a governor in California history: Gov. Gavin Newsom dined with 11 friends and lobbyists at one of the country’s most expensive restaurants as he pleaded with Californians to stay home, while those looking to kick him out of office won four more months to qualify for the ballot. Photos of the maskless dinner showed the Democratic governor going against what he had been urging for months to combat the coronavirus: don’t gather in groups, keep your distance, wear a mask.

Californians to vote on Newsom recall today. Co-owner of Sonoma Fit Adam Kovacs joins 'Fox & Friends First' and tells his story of how the pandemic and the governor 's lockdowns hurt his business, says it's time to recall Gavin Newsom . It’s decision day in the nation’s most populous state as Californians vote in the recall election of embattled first-term Democratic Gov . Newsom , who was overwhelmingly elected governor in 2018 in the heavily blue state of California , is facing a recall sparked last year mainly over accusations that he mishandled his state’s response to the coronavirus.

California Gov . Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference in August. ( AP ) — After a year of debate that laid bare divisions in America’s most populous state, Californians on Tuesday will be deciding whether Gov . Gavin Newsom keeps his job, or if the state goes in a more conservative direction. Newsom ended his campaign to stay in office in a recall election with a final push late Monday from President Joe Biden, who warned that the outcome of the contest could shape the country’s direction on the pandemic, reproductive rights and the battle to slow climate change.

LOS ANGELES — California Governor Gavin Newsom withstood a recall election on Tuesday in a closely-watched race that drew national attention and campaign visits from President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, NBC News, the Associated Press projected less than an hour after polls closed in the state.

Gavin Newsom wearing a suit and tie: California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks during a campaign event at Long Beach City College in Long Beach, Calif., U.S., Sept.13, 2021. (Leah Millis/Reuters) © Provided by Yahoo! News California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks during a campaign event at Long Beach City College in Long Beach, Calif., U.S., Sept.13, 2021. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Preliminary exit polls suggested the very issue that recall proponents had hoped would unseat Newsom — the pandemic — was the one that helped propel him to victory. Not only did COVID-19 rank as the No. 1 issue on voters’ minds, ahead of homelessness, wildfires, crime and the economy, but just three in 10 California voters said Newsom’s pandemic policies were too strict. More than two-thirds (69 percent) said they supported the state’s mask mandates for students, and roughly the same number said the state’s coronavirus situation was getting better or staying the same.

What The French Laundry Has to Do With Gavin Newsom's Recall Election

  What The French Laundry Has to Do With Gavin Newsom's Recall Election A dinner California's governor attended last November has been credited with galvanizing support for the recall petition that ultimately qualified for a ballot.More than a month before the first COVID-19 vaccine received emergency use approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), California was battling a rising wave of new COVID-19 infections with health experts predicting additional increases during the holiday weeks that were still to come.

California voters will decide whether to remove Gov . Gavin Newsom (D) from office in tonight's recall election . 10:15 P.M. — Team Newsom believes it has the recall in the bag, saying there is no “scenario where we lose.” “I don’t see a scenario where we’re not talking about a victory for the governor and a complete rejection of this appalling partisan power grab,” said Newsom strategist Sean Clegg, according to Fox News.

Gavin Newsom ahead of Tuesday's recall election . "What's happening in Texas, what's happening in Georgia, what's happening around our country with these policies that are about attacking women's rights, reproductive rights, voting rights, workers rights, they think if they can win in California they Gavin Newsom responds to a question while meeting with reporters after casting his recall ballot at a voting center in Sacramento, Calif. Spivak told ABC News that the threat of a leading candidate among the recall field, which was lacking before Elder joined the race two months ago, was helpful to

In one sense, Newsom’s victory wasn’t much of a shock. In 2018, the former San Francisco mayor was elected governor with 62 percent of the vote — the largest Democratic landslide in state history. Nearly three years later, 57 percent of Californians still approve of his performance in office, according to a recent CBS News poll. And Democratic voters outnumber Republican voters statewide by nearly 2 to 1.

But both the pandemic and California’s bizarre recall rules, which set the bar much higher for governors who want to remain in office than for challengers who want to replace them, gave anti-Newsom conservatives a glimmer of hope.

Every California race for governor since Ronald Reagan’s election in 1966 has inspired quixotic recall efforts. Prior to February 2020, Newsom’s opponents introduced five recall petitions against him. None got off the ground. It was only when COVID-19 started to spike over the holidays of that year — and when Newsom seemed to be caught off guard by contradictory public opinion over restrictions and reopenings — that the recall proponents were able to gather the signatures they needed to get on the ballot.

Allegations fly as recall vote looms for California’s Newsom

  Allegations fly as recall vote looms for California’s Newsom LOS ANGELES (AP) — In a blitz of TV ads and a last-minute rally, California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom urged voters Sunday to turn back a looming recall vote that could remove him from office, while leading Republican Larry Elder broadly criticized the media for what he described as double standards that insulated Newsom from criticism and scrutiny throughout the contest. The sunny, late-summer weekend was a swirl of political activity, as candidates held rallies, continued bus tours and cluttered the TV airwaves with advertising offering their closing arguments in advance of the election that concludes Tuesday.

© Rich Pedroncelli/ AP , FILE California Gov . Gavin Newsom responds to a question while meeting with reporters after casting his recall ballot at a voting center in Sacramento, Calif. Spivak told ABC News that the threat of a leading candidate among the recall field, which was lacking before Elder joined the race two MORE: Larry Elder, Gavin Newsom gear up for California recall battle. "He was really helped by Larry Elder eventually being the front-runner, because it gave him a comparison. Before he was trying to make it Newsom versus Trump, but Trump isn't on the ballot," Spivak said.

The California recall election has been held primarily by mail, with election offices in California sending all registered voters a recall ballot that they can mail back or return to a ballot drop box or voting site. Polls for in-person voters in California close at 8 p.m. PST and 11 p.m. EST, but because mail ballots take a little longer to process and tabulate, Decision Desk HQ and other outlets may not be able to project an outcome for a few days. California governor recall candidate Larry Elder takes a selfie with a supporter outside of the Warner Center Marriott Woodland Hills in Woodland Hills CA

Not helping matters was Newsom’s deeply hypocritical decision to attend a lobbyist’s maskless birthday dinner at the French Laundry, a fancy Napa Valley restaurant, or a state judge’s decision — on the same November day as Newsom’s fateful soiree, no less — to give those seeking a recall four extra months, because of COVID, to canvass the state for signatures.

Even then, the recall would have failed to materialize if California required more than 12 percent of voters to sign the petition — the threshold is 25 percent or higher in other states — or evidence of actual malfeasance. In 2020, at least 14 governors nationwide faced recall efforts. Only California’s attempt proceeded to a ballot.

Larry Elder wearing a suit and tie: Gubernatorial recall candidate Larry Elder at the Monterey Park City Hall on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021 in Los Angeles, Calif. (Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) © Provided by Yahoo! News Gubernatorial recall candidate Larry Elder at the Monterey Park City Hall on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021 in Los Angeles, Calif. (Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the election itself would never have been considered competitive if not for the way it was structured. The first ballot question ("Do you want to recall the governor?") required Newsom to secure at least 50 percent of the “no” vote to survive. This, in turn, was followed by a second question ("If the governor falls short of 50 percent, who do you want to replace him?") that would have awarded the governorship in that scenario to whichever one of this year’s 46 challengers earned a mere plurality — even if the governor got a far bigger plurality on the first question than his new replacement got on the second.

Recall election: Campaign trip for Gavin Newsom could bring bigger benefit to President Biden

  Recall election: Campaign trip for Gavin Newsom could bring bigger benefit to President Biden President Joe Biden's campaign trip for California Gov. Gavin Newsom ahead of Tuesday's recall election, could help Biden as much as Newsom.Polls indicate Republicans’ attempt to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom is likely to come up short in Tuesday’s election – for which many votes have already been cast.

California is holding its recall election today to determine whether Democratic governor Gavin Newsom will be allowed to remain in office. Newsom held a campaign rally last night in Long Beach alongside Joe Biden, who warned that Republican candidate Larry Elder is a “clone of Donald Trump”. An upset in the Golden state “could also encourage recall elections potentially around the country”, said Mindy Romero, who heads the California Civic Engagement Project at the University of Southern California .

California 's unusual recall election , triggered when anti- Newsom organizers collected the roughly 1.5 million signatures needed to put him on the ballot again, will ask voters to decide if Newsom should be fired and, if so, to pick a replacement governor from a list of 46 hopefuls alternatives, with firebrand California — the nation’s most populous state and the world’s fifth largest economy — is facing a slew of challenges, from rising costs of living to wildfires and drought. And Newsom alienated some voters during the Covid-19 pandemic when he shut down businesses and instituted mask mandates, but was

Incidentally, “keep Newsom” never fell below 47 percent in FiveThirtyEight’s average of California recall polls. Elder never cleared 30 percent.

Still, the rules are the rules — and for a while, it looked as if the recall supporters had a chance to capitalize. Partly it had to do with the tensions around COVID. Partly it had to do with realities on the ground — rampant homelessness, astronomical living costs, violent crime — that have been amplified by the pandemic. And partly it had to do with an intensity gap between Republicans who desperately wanted to dethrone a Democrat and Democrats who barely realized that the Democrat they just elected could actually be dethroned in an odd-year September vote, or who barely cared enough about state politics to save someone who seemed to represent a fraught status quo.

As a result, in early August the FiveThirtyEight average showed a near-even split between voters who wanted to keep Newsom in office and voters who wanted to remove him. One survey — later effectively disowned by the firm that conducted it — showed Newsom trailing by 11. Other, superior polls suggested that revved-up recall proponents could theoretically prevail if Newsom’s far larger but less engaged base failed to turn out. A few weeks of frenzied media attention followed.

How Larry Elder has helped Gavin Newsom in California's recall election

  How Larry Elder has helped Gavin Newsom in California's recall election Earlier this year, when California Gov. Gavin Newsom was searching for the right message to convince disengaged Democrats to vote against the effort to oust him in Tuesday's recall election, it would have been impossible to imagine a more perfect foil than conservative talk radio host Larry Elder. © Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP California Gov. Gavin Newsom is photographed during a TV interview before a rally against the California gubernatorial recall election on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Sun Valley, California.

Then, suddenly, California Democrats seemed to shake off their summer stupor.

Why? A number of things happened all at once. The surprisingly close polling — and all the coverage it triggered — convinced blasé Democrats that Newsom could lose. Simultaneously, the right-wing Elder — who denies the existence of systemic racism, opposes gun control and abortion rights, wants to abolish the minimum wage and pledged to overturn COVID-19 mask and vaccine requirements in schools and elsewhere — emerged as Newsom’s likeliest replacement. That transformed the race from a freewheeling referendum on a troubled time to a clear choice between two living, breathing candidates with wildly different politics — one of whom could never win a normal statewide election in heavily Democratic California, and one who already had.

Campaigning on behalf of Newsom on Monday at Long Beach City College, Biden made sure to link Elder to former President Donald Trump, who remains deeply unpopular here.

“All of you know last year I got to run against the real Donald Trump. Well, this year, the leading Republican running for governor is the closest thing to a Trump clone that I have ever seen in your state,” the president said, echoing Newsom’s own refrain that “we defeated Trump last year… but we haven’t defeated Trumpism.”

Gavin Newsom projected to win California recall race

  Gavin Newsom projected to win California recall race CNN and NBC both projected that Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom would win Tuesday's recall race in California.Newsom held an early and substantial lead in results from California's Tuesday recall election shortly after polls closed at 8 p.m. local time.

a group of people in a room: Crowded with voters casting their ballots in a vote center at Santa Monica College. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images). © Provided by Yahoo! News Crowded with voters casting their ballots in a vote center at Santa Monica College. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images).

By the time Biden visited, Newsom had already dropped tens of millions of dollars on commercials contrasting himself with Elder, swamping his Republican rivals and recall proponents on TV by a nearly four-to-one ratio; his campaign spent millions more on a massive get-out-the-vote effort. Harris stumped in the state as well; former President Barack Obama cut an ad.

Soon every single one of California’s 22 million registered voters who was still somehow clueless about the coming election got a very effective wakeup call: a paper ballot sent straight to their home mailbox. By Election Day, more than 8 million mail ballots had already been returned — and Democrats had sent in twice as many as Republicans. The GOP’s intensity edge had evaporated; so had their encouraging poll numbers. FiveThirtyEight’s final average showed “keep Newsom” ahead of “remove Newsom” by nearly 16 points, 57.3 percent to 41.5 percent.

The last hope for Elder and the other 45 candidates on the ballot seeking to replace Newsom was that Republican voters who had been trained by Trump to distrust mail ballots would flood polling places Tuesday and prove the pollsters wrong. But it was not to be.

Because of all these quirks, it’s difficult to draw any conclusions about national politics from California. But there are two takeaways from Newsom’s victory that are worth noting as the 2022 midterms approach.

California recall: Environmentalists fear a one-time climate change denier could oust Newsom

  California recall: Environmentalists fear a one-time climate change denier could oust Newsom The Sept. 14 election is shaping up as a tight race. Lukewarm enthusiasm for the Democratic governor and a confusing ballot opens the door to an upset.That could help trigger a political earthquake: a "yes" vote to oust the Democratic governor and an upset victory by a conservative who could upend California's landmark environmental policies.

The first is that Republicans are now so invested in claiming (without evidence) that fraud is the only reason Democrats can win elections, they’re going to keep doing it even when the election in question isn’t close. For days now, Trump himself has been releasing preemptive false statements about how “millions and millions of mail-in ballots will make this just another giant election scam,” while Elder’s campaign went so far as to create a website declaring that they had "detected fraud" in the "results" of the California recall election "resulting in Governor Gavin Newsom being reinstated [sic] as governor" — but published the page online before the election had taken place or any results had been released.

“This election fraud stuff is a crock. It’s shameful,” Newsom said Monday when asked by a reporter if he had seen any credible evidence of election-altering fraud. “As an American I’m ashamed by it. I’m disgusted. Stop. Grow up. These people are literally vandalizing our democracy, trust in our institutions. … Accept the results. There’s absolutely none. It’s embarrassing to even respond to that, because it’s fantasy. They’re making stuff up.”

Such fantasies are unlikely to have any impact in California. But they will keep delegitimizing the democratic process for the GOP base, which will continue to provide cover for new voting restrictions and election challenges in Republican-controlled swing states.

The second takeaway from the California recall is that the politics of COVID may be changing back in Democrats’ favor.

“No Republican running for governor could possibly have defeated Gavin Newsom in the recall election, but COVID could have,” Dan Schnur, a former spokesman for Republican former California Gov. Pete Wilson and the late GOP Sen. John McCain who teaches politics at several leading California universities, recently told Yahoo News’s Skullduggery podcast. “The reason it's not is because voters here have come to conclude that he is doing a much better job on it than they'd thought last spring and last winter.”

How the recall election against California Gavin Newsom will work

  How the recall election against California Gavin Newsom will work The election will be just the second recall election for governor in state history. The other took place in 2003 when Democratic Governor Gray Davis was recalled and Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger became governor. Here's what you need to know about the recall. How did we get here?In February 2020, a group called the California Patriot Coalition began circulating a petition to recall Newsom, citing his administration's policies on immigration, homelessness, the state's drought emergency and taxes. Newsom had faced five previous recall attempts, but such petitions require 1.

Joe Biden holding a sign: President Joe Biden campaigns with California Governor Gavin Newsom at Long Beach City College Liberal Arts Campus in Long Beach, California, on Sept. 13, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis © Provided by Yahoo! News President Joe Biden campaigns with California Governor Gavin Newsom at Long Beach City College Liberal Arts Campus in Long Beach, California, on Sept. 13, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis

When the recall qualified for the ballot this past spring, Americans were optimistic that so-called herd immunity was on the horizon and that vaccines would soon vanquish the virus. In that context, the hands-off vision of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, among other Republicans, looked alluring. No indoor mask mandates. No vaccine requirements. No more stress on families or businesses. Just live your life like the pandemic was already over, and soon it would be.

Then came the hyper-contagious Delta variant. Now, a few months later, Florida has become one of the only states where more people are dying of COVID each day — long after free, safe and effective vaccines became widely available to all Americans age 12 or older — than during any previous wave of the virus. In fact, the Sunshine State is now recording nearly twice as many daily COVID deaths (350, on average) than it was at last summer’s peak (185). No other state comes close.

In contrast, Californians are dying of COVID-19 at a lower rate today (103 per day) than last summer (140 per day), despite the fact that Delta is twice as transmissible as the initial strain of SARS-CoV-2 that was circulating in 2020. That’s the kind of progress you would expect after vaccination.

During California’s bout with Delta, there have been no lockdowns, no business closures, no official curbs on indoor drinking or dining — just a general public bias toward caution that is both reflected and reinforced by indoor mask mandates (along with an emerging trend toward vaccine requirements, particularly for health, school and government employees).

In contrast, DeSantis doubled down on his opposition to mask and vaccine mandates when Delta took off, prohibiting local governments, local businesses and even local school districts from implementing such policies — and therefore discouraging Floridians themselves from behaving more cautiously. In fact, a new New York Times analysis shows that across all states that voted for Trump in 2020, undervaccination has allowed nearly 12,000 preventable deaths during July and August alone — more than double the 4,800 in states Biden won in 2020, where vaccination rates are higher.

“Californians are “not particularly happy with [Newsom] on homelessness, on education, on public safety, but those issues, despite the Republican candidates' efforts to talk about them, are of secondary, if not tertiary importance to the virus,” Schnur said. “And unlike last year when Newsom was telling people to stay home, given the fact that we have vaccines now, the most onerous thing he's saying is you must wear a mask, you must get vaccinated. That isn't nearly as onerous. So particularly when compared and contrasted to other states in the country, Californians are feeling good about him on the only issue that matters to them right now.”

Ever the canny pol, Newsom took advantage of this development to argue that “Republicans want to take us backwards with this September 14 recall,” as he put it in a recent ad. “They’ll eliminate vaccine mandates for health and school workers on day one, threatening school closures and our recovery.” On the stump, he warned that Elder will “walk us off that same COVID cliff as Texas and Florida, Tennessee and Alabama and Georgia.”

In effect, Newsom reframed the recall as a choice, above all else, between the laissez-faire COVID-19 policies that have failed to contain huge summer surges in Republican-led states across the South and the Golden State’s more careful approach to Delta.

On Tuesday, Californians chose the latter. Whether a similar playbook will work for other Democrats down the road remains to be seen. But what Newsom’s win does suggest is that while voters are desperate for the pandemic to end, many of them no longer believe that the best way to get there is by pretending it already has.

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How the recall election against California Gavin Newsom will work .
The election will be just the second recall election for governor in state history. The other took place in 2003 when Democratic Governor Gray Davis was recalled and Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger became governor. Here's what you need to know about the recall. How did we get here?In February 2020, a group called the California Patriot Coalition began circulating a petition to recall Newsom, citing his administration's policies on immigration, homelessness, the state's drought emergency and taxes. Newsom had faced five previous recall attempts, but such petitions require 1.

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