On Tuesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom defeated the recall intended to remove him from office.
The push to recall Newsom came after GOP supporters became upset with the governor’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, including implementing mask mandates. An ex-cop, Orrin Heatlie, led the charge and secured more than two million signatures to get the recall on the ballot following public outrage over photos of Newsom maskless with friends and lobbyists in a Napa Valley restaurant last year.
CBS Los Angeles reports that on Tuesday 63.9 percent of the votes were against the recall and 36.1 percent of votes were in favor of it, according to the latest numbers released by the California Secretary of State’s Office.
The race was quickly called by CBS News within an hour of polls closing at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Newsom is the second governor in California history to face a recall election.
Voters were asked two questions on their recall ballots. The first was whether Gov. Newsom should be recalled, and the second is who should succeed him in the event he is. He needed 50% or more voters to respond “no” to the first question to remain in office. With Newsom convincingly passing that mark, the second question was quickly deemed irrelevant.
According to the Associated Press, critics expressed dissatisfaction with Newsom’s handling of the state’s homelessness crisis, rising homicide rate, an unemployment fraud scandal and months-long business and school closures during the pandemic. However, AP notes that a poll from the Public Policy Institute of California showed Newsom’s approval rating remained above 50 percent during the pandemic.
Larry Elder, a rather controversial Black conservative radio show host and frontrunner in the race, seized on the criticisms of Newsom’s performance and, of course, harped on the Trump-inspired claims of election fraud, ironically before the votes were even counted.
AP reports that Newsom was ahead by a 30-point margin with almost two-thirds of the ballots counted, a lead pushed by mail-in ballots sent ahead of Tuesday’s in-person voting. When it became apparent that the lead wouldn’t shrink by much, even with the rest of the ballots left to be counted in the days ahead, Elder conceded late Tuesday night.
“Let’s be gracious in defeat. We may have lost the battle, but we are going to win the war,” Elder said, according to AP. Newsom is the second governor to defeat a recall in U.S. history.