Gov. Gavin Newsom declares victory as AP projects him surviving California recall election

Gavin Newsom
California Governor Gavin Newsom and wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom leave after a campaign event at Long Beach City College in Long Beach, California on September 13, 2021. |

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has survived a recall challenge, according to the projected results from The Associated Press.

For the recall ballot, a voter first was asked whether they supported recalling Newsom and then, as a second question, they were asked which of the 46 registered candidates they wanted to replace Newsom as governor.

With approximately two-thirds of the ballots counted, the “no” to recalling Newsom answer held a 30-point lead over the “yes” option, according to the AP.

Fox News also reported that the race was called for Newsom, noting that of the 68% of the vote counted, over 5.8 million voted no to recall while nearly 3.3 million voted yes. 

At a press conference held late Tuesday evening, Newsom claimed that his victory meant that “we said yes to science, we said yes to vaccines, we said yes to ending this pandemic.”

“We said yes to diversity, we said yes to inclusion, we said yes to pluralism,” Newsom added. “We said yes to all those things we hold dear as Californians and, I would argue, as Americans.”

Larry Elder, a 69-year-old African American conservative radio host considered the front runner among the 46 candidates running against Newsom, conceded the race on Tuesday evening.

However, Elder also hinted at a rematch with Newsom, who will be up for reelection next year, telling supporters to “stay tuned” and that “we may have lost the battle, but we are going to win the war.”

Elected governor by a landslide in 2018, Newsom became the subject of a recall election when critics of his administration gathered enough signatures in April to trigger the special vote.

Polling before the recall had indicated that Newsom was likely going to survive the challenge, with both FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics predicting a win for the incumbent Democrat.

Before and during the recall election, allegations of voter fraud and mishandling of ballots garnered attention online and in local media. 

Conservative political commentator David Rubin took to YouTube to claim he had had issues with his ballot being processed, while some in San Fernando Valley said their ballots were denied by the machines. 

Regarding the San Fernando situation, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s office replied to local media outlet KTLA that there were device issues that were eventually handled. 

“After troubleshooting the issue, the equipment at the locations was replaced and voting continued,” a spokesman for the office said, as reported by KTLA. 

Tuesday’s vote marked only the fourth recall gubernatorial election in American history, with the first being held in 1921 and the next three having been held after 2000.

In 2003, California voters successfully recalled Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, with Republican and notable action movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger winning the recall election.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin was the subject of a recall election in 2012. However, he secured enough votes to remain in office. Walker was later defeated by Democrat Tony Evers in the gubernatorial election of 2018.

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