California Gov. Gavin Newsom Survives Recall Effort, Remains In Office

Markus Groves, Staff Writer

Soon after polls closed on Tuesday, Sept.14, it was realized that Democrat Gavin Newsom would remain the governor of California by a wide margin—following the second recall in California’s history. 

The recall efforts initially began on February 20, 2020, when a petition to recall Gov. Newsom was filed. By the petition’s signature deadline on March 17, 2021, some 1.7 million Californians had supported the recall. Upon certification of the signatures on July 1, 2021, the recall election was scheduled for September 14, 2021.

Many candidates entered the race to replace Gov. Newsom, with the most prominent candidate being conservative political commentator and lawyer Larry Elder. 

Elder cited, “rising crime, deteriorating quality of [California’s] public education… [and a] draconian shutdown of the economy” as reasons for running. 

“[The recall] would have profound consequences nationwide,” Gov. Newsom said in an interview with the Sacramento Bee. 

On the campaign trail, Gov. Newsom was joined by leading Democrats including President Biden, who targeted frontrunner Larry Elder in a speech given at a Newsom campaign rally in Long Beach. 

“The leading Republican running for governor is the closest thing to a Trump clone that I’ve ever seen in this state,” President Biden said. “He’s the clone of Donald Trump…you can’t let that happen—there’s too much at stake.”

The race to recall Gov. Newsom raised an estimated $128 million, with $83 million being raised in support of the Governor, and $45 million in support of recalling him. The Elder campaign raised the most money out of recall candidates, raising $13 million. 

On Tuesday night, as the votes came in, Gov. Newsom had a seemingly insurmountable lead, likely a result of mail in votes being counted first—since Democrats are more likely to vote through mail, as seen in previous elections. As the night progressed and more votes came in, the gap between “No” and “Yes” for the recall narrowed minimally. 

As of Thursday, Sept. 16, with 78% of the vote in, Newsom will remain the Governor of California. The “No” vote against recalling Gov. Newsom is leading with about 63% of the vote, while the “Yes” vote in favor of recalling Gov. Newsom has only about 36% of the vote. Among those who voted “Yes”, Larry Elder had a sizable lead, with 47% of the vote. 

“I want to focus on what we said ‘yes’ to as a state,” Gov. Newsom said in a victory speech Tuesday night. “We said ‘yes’ to science, we said ‘yes’ to vaccines, we said ‘yes’ to ending this pandemic. We said ‘yes’ to people’s right to vote without fear of fake fraud or voter suppression. We said ‘yes’ to women’s fundamental constitutional right to decide for herself what she does with her body and her fate and future.”

Candidate Larry Elder conceded the race, asking his supporters to be “gracious in defeat,” on Tuesday night. However, Elder suggested that he would continue his new political career, as he told his supporters to “stay tuned.”