Gavin Newsom Prevails In Recall Election

Gavin Newsom giving a speech

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Gov. Gavin Newsom has triumphed in California’s gubernatorial recall election, several major news outlets have projected.

Just a few weeks ago, polls showed Newsom in a dogfight to keep his governorship, but the slowly the numbers started to move more in his favor. The emergence of Larry Elder, a right wing radio talk show host, as a frontrunner among a crowded field of challengers, helped the Newsom campaign put a face on the opposition.

Newsom and Elder weren’t directly running against each other. There were two questions on the ballot. Question 1 asked if Newsom should be recalled. If a simple majority had voted yes, then Newsom would be out. Question 2 featured the 46 candidates vying for his job. By law, Newsom was not allowed to be among them. In the event of a recall, whichever candidate had received the most votes on Question 2, would have become the next governor.

Turnout in the election was high, thanks in no small part to the fact that all California voters receive their ballots by mail. Voters can return them via mail (free of postal charges) or return them to secure designated drop boxes. Voters may also choose to vote in person, either on election day or during early voting.

Elder has suggested in recent weeks that Democrats would engage in election “shenanigans,” but declined to offer much specifics beyond vague remarks about mail-in voting. On Monday he refused to say whether he’d accept the results of the election if he lost. The next day, Newsom responded by saying, “I’ll tell you what, the irony of it, and it really is the irony, it’s going to hurt the Republican Party because they’re telling their voters, their vote doesn’t even matter. So it’s a hell of a thing.”

Last year, opponents of Newsom gathered enough signatures to trigger the election. Under California’s constitution, if registered voters amounting to 12% of the total number of votes cast in the gubernatorial election sign a petition in support of recalling the governor, an election must be held.

This was California’s first recall attempt since 2003, when Gov. Gray Davis was ousted and Arnold Schwarzenegger succeeded him.

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