The governor will remain in office after crushing a conservative-driven effort in the blue state.
Gov. Gavin Newsom will remain California’s governor after voters decisively rejected an effort to recall him in Tuesday’s election.
The conservative-driven effort to topple Newsom always faced long odds in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by some five million voters and Newsom cruised to a 24-point landslide in 2018. Democrats relied on a drumbeat of catastrophic warnings about a conservative Republican governor to motivate their base after fearing that lackluster turnout could cost them the election.
With just over 9 million votes counted, Newsom was crushing the recall by nearly 30 percentage points. That difference is expected to tighten as Election Day votes come in, but Republican ballots aren’t expected to come close to bridging the gap.
“I’m humbled and I’m grateful to the millions and millions of Californians that exercised their fundamental right to vote and express themselves so overwhelmingly by rejecting the division, by rejecting the cynicism,” Newsom said Tuesday night in a 5-minute victory speech in Sacramento. “By rejecting so much of the negativity that’s defined our politics in this country over the course of so many years.”
The governor will now enter the final year of his first term in a position of strength. He is expected to stand for reelection in 2022, and Republicans’ failure to oust him in an off-year special election fueled by conservative grievances suggests they face a steep fight to defeat Newsom next year.
“He’s going to be vindicated and it will discourage most credible candidates from running in 2022,” Democratic consultant Rose Kapolczynski said. “The Republicans have gone after Newsom for the last year and a half and they’ve failed, so what makes Republicans think they’ll have a better chance in a general election when the governor’s just convinced voters to let him stay?”
Published: September 15, 2021
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