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Newsom prevails in California's recall election

In local early returns, 83.13% of Alameda County voters and 73.13% of Contra Costa County voters say No to recall

Sacramento County temporary employee Ranisha Sampson extracts recall ballots at the Sacramento County Registrar's Office on Sept. 14, 2021. Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters.

The attempt to throw Gov. Gavin Newsom out of office failed by a wide margin, according to vote counts released Tuesday night in California's historic recall election.

With some 8.6 million ballots counted — out of 22.3 million ballots mailed to registered voters — the No vote is ahead of the Yes vote 65.4% to 34.6%, according to the California Secretary of State.

That was enough for most major news outlets including the AP, CNN and NBC to declare that the recall had failed and Newsom had survived.

"We are enjoying an overwhelming 'no' vote tonight here in the state of California," Newsom said in a brief appearance in the courtyard of the state Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento. "But 'no' was not the only thing that was expressed tonight. I want to focus on what we said 'yes' to as a state. We said 'yes' to science, '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. We said yes to all those things that we hold dear as Californians, and I would argue, as Americans," the governor added.

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But there are likely many more votes to count. Here's why: The votes reported so far are only those ballots cast before Tuesday, from voters who sent them in by mail, left them in election drop boxes or voted early in person. After 8 p.m., election officials will begin counting ballots that were cast Tuesday. And ballots postmarked by Tuesday will be counted as long as they arrive within a week.

Republicans are expected to make up a larger share of those voting Tuesday at polling places, so the results may shift toward the Yes side as those ballots are counted.

The No side performed very well in Alameda County, according to early returns on Election Night, with 83.13% voting No and 16.87% voting Yes on the recall question. That turnout so far represented 36.17% of registered county voters, with an unknown number of ballots still left to count.

In Contra Costa County, the splits stood at 73.13% for No and 26.87% for Yes on the recall question, in unofficial results at the end of Election Night. With an unknown number of local ballots left to process, turnout as of Tuesday represented 49.38% of registered voters.

Statewide, among the candidates seeking to replace Newsom, should a majority of voters choose to recall him, GOP talk radio host Larry Elder was leading the pack with 45.2% of the vote. Democrat Kevin Paffrath was a distant second at 10.3%, while former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican, was in third place with 9.1%.

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Elder indicated that he will likely run for governor next year if he does not win this time.

"I have now become a political force here in California in general and particularly within the Republican party, and I'm not going to leave the stage," he said Tuesday in an interview with Fresno radio show KMJ Now.

But even before Election Day, Elder began casting doubt on the validity of the results. He said he thinks there may be "shenanigans" and that he's prepared to file lawsuits over irregularities. For days, a "Stop CA Fraud" website linked from his campaign site called for an investigation of the "twisted results" in the recall election "resulting in Governor Gavin Newsom being reinstated as governor;" those words were deleted in the last 24 hours.

Newsom's strategy to fight the recall relied on taking lessons from the only other gubernatorial recalls in modern American history: the 2003 ouster of California Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and the failed attempt to recall Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker in 2012. (The governor of North Dakota was recalled a century ago, long before the modern era of political communication.)

The lesson from the Davis recall: Box out any prominent Democrats from running as a replacement and focus on telling Democrats to just vote "no." In 2003, Democrat Cruz Bustamante, the lieutenant governor, ran with the slogan "No on the recall, Yes on Bustamante."

Newsom's campaign said that gave some Democrats the belief that they could recall Davis and still have a Democratic governor.

"We weren't going to make that same mistake," said Newsom strategist Ace Smith.

The lesson from Walker beating back a recall: Play offense and define your opponent. Walker succeeded in part because he was able to cast the recall as an attack by labor unions and paint them as the villain.

Newsom's team used the same strategy, but with the opposite politics. In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans two to one, they cast Republicans as the bogeyman, and repeatedly tried to tie the recall to former President Donald Trump, who is deeply unpopular in California. And when Elder emerged as the front-runner, Newsom focused on bashing his conservative stances on race, immigration, women's rights and pandemic management.

"Politics should always be choices," Smith said. "The choice in this case is not whether your governor is perfect or not, the choice is whether your governor would do a far better job than the other person who would be governor."

Newsom also benefited from an enormous fundraising advantage — raising five times as much money as his opponents combined. And he got help from organized labor. Unions contributed millions of dollars to his campaign and also organized a huge effort to knock on doors, make phone calls and send text messages urging voters to say "no" to the recall.

"It really was all about in-person contact and communication," said Steve Smith, a spokesperson for the California Labor Federation. "That's what we knew it would take, given the research we did early in the summer where we saw a tremendous amount of apathy and low information. TV ads alone weren't going to solve that problem."

Newsom also bet that his strict approach to the pandemic — as the first governor in the nation to require vaccines for health care workers and state employees — would pay off in a state where two-thirds of residents are vaccinated. He contrasted his approach with his GOP opponents, who said they would repeal mandates for masks and vaccines.

Exit polling from Tuesday's election reveals that the pandemic is the main issue on California voters' minds, and that more than 6 in 10 say getting vaccinated is more of a public health responsibility than it is a personal choice.

Editor's note: Pleasanton Weekly editor Jeremy Walsh contributed local results to this story.

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Email Laurel Rosenhall and Sameea Kamal at [email protected] and [email protected], respectively.

CalMatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California's policies and politics. Read more state news from CalMatters here.

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Newsom prevails in California's recall election

In local early returns, 83.13% of Alameda County voters and 73.13% of Contra Costa County voters say No to recall

by / CalMatters

Uploaded: Tue, Sep 14, 2021, 11:26 pm
Updated: Wed, Sep 15, 2021, 12:13 am

The attempt to throw Gov. Gavin Newsom out of office failed by a wide margin, according to vote counts released Tuesday night in California's historic recall election.

With some 8.6 million ballots counted — out of 22.3 million ballots mailed to registered voters — the No vote is ahead of the Yes vote 65.4% to 34.6%, according to the California Secretary of State.

That was enough for most major news outlets including the AP, CNN and NBC to declare that the recall had failed and Newsom had survived.

"We are enjoying an overwhelming 'no' vote tonight here in the state of California," Newsom said in a brief appearance in the courtyard of the state Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento. "But 'no' was not the only thing that was expressed tonight. I want to focus on what we said 'yes' to as a state. We said 'yes' to science, '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. We said yes to all those things that we hold dear as Californians, and I would argue, as Americans," the governor added.

But there are likely many more votes to count. Here's why: The votes reported so far are only those ballots cast before Tuesday, from voters who sent them in by mail, left them in election drop boxes or voted early in person. After 8 p.m., election officials will begin counting ballots that were cast Tuesday. And ballots postmarked by Tuesday will be counted as long as they arrive within a week.

Republicans are expected to make up a larger share of those voting Tuesday at polling places, so the results may shift toward the Yes side as those ballots are counted.

The No side performed very well in Alameda County, according to early returns on Election Night, with 83.13% voting No and 16.87% voting Yes on the recall question. That turnout so far represented 36.17% of registered county voters, with an unknown number of ballots still left to count.

In Contra Costa County, the splits stood at 73.13% for No and 26.87% for Yes on the recall question, in unofficial results at the end of Election Night. With an unknown number of local ballots left to process, turnout as of Tuesday represented 49.38% of registered voters.

Statewide, among the candidates seeking to replace Newsom, should a majority of voters choose to recall him, GOP talk radio host Larry Elder was leading the pack with 45.2% of the vote. Democrat Kevin Paffrath was a distant second at 10.3%, while former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican, was in third place with 9.1%.

Elder indicated that he will likely run for governor next year if he does not win this time.

"I have now become a political force here in California in general and particularly within the Republican party, and I'm not going to leave the stage," he said Tuesday in an interview with Fresno radio show KMJ Now.

But even before Election Day, Elder began casting doubt on the validity of the results. He said he thinks there may be "shenanigans" and that he's prepared to file lawsuits over irregularities. For days, a "Stop CA Fraud" website linked from his campaign site called for an investigation of the "twisted results" in the recall election "resulting in Governor Gavin Newsom being reinstated as governor;" those words were deleted in the last 24 hours.

Newsom's strategy to fight the recall relied on taking lessons from the only other gubernatorial recalls in modern American history: the 2003 ouster of California Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and the failed attempt to recall Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker in 2012. (The governor of North Dakota was recalled a century ago, long before the modern era of political communication.)

The lesson from the Davis recall: Box out any prominent Democrats from running as a replacement and focus on telling Democrats to just vote "no." In 2003, Democrat Cruz Bustamante, the lieutenant governor, ran with the slogan "No on the recall, Yes on Bustamante."

Newsom's campaign said that gave some Democrats the belief that they could recall Davis and still have a Democratic governor.

"We weren't going to make that same mistake," said Newsom strategist Ace Smith.

The lesson from Walker beating back a recall: Play offense and define your opponent. Walker succeeded in part because he was able to cast the recall as an attack by labor unions and paint them as the villain.

Newsom's team used the same strategy, but with the opposite politics. In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans two to one, they cast Republicans as the bogeyman, and repeatedly tried to tie the recall to former President Donald Trump, who is deeply unpopular in California. And when Elder emerged as the front-runner, Newsom focused on bashing his conservative stances on race, immigration, women's rights and pandemic management.

"Politics should always be choices," Smith said. "The choice in this case is not whether your governor is perfect or not, the choice is whether your governor would do a far better job than the other person who would be governor."

Newsom also benefited from an enormous fundraising advantage — raising five times as much money as his opponents combined. And he got help from organized labor. Unions contributed millions of dollars to his campaign and also organized a huge effort to knock on doors, make phone calls and send text messages urging voters to say "no" to the recall.

"It really was all about in-person contact and communication," said Steve Smith, a spokesperson for the California Labor Federation. "That's what we knew it would take, given the research we did early in the summer where we saw a tremendous amount of apathy and low information. TV ads alone weren't going to solve that problem."

Newsom also bet that his strict approach to the pandemic — as the first governor in the nation to require vaccines for health care workers and state employees — would pay off in a state where two-thirds of residents are vaccinated. He contrasted his approach with his GOP opponents, who said they would repeal mandates for masks and vaccines.

Exit polling from Tuesday's election reveals that the pandemic is the main issue on California voters' minds, and that more than 6 in 10 say getting vaccinated is more of a public health responsibility than it is a personal choice.

Editor's note: Pleasanton Weekly editor Jeremy Walsh contributed local results to this story.

Email Laurel Rosenhall and Sameea Kamal at [email protected] and [email protected], respectively.

CALmatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California's policies and politics.

Comments

Jake Waters
Registered user
Birdland
on Sep 15, 2021 at 9:05 am
Jake Waters, Birdland
Registered user
on Sep 15, 2021 at 9:05 am

First, though I voted to recall Newsom, I understood from the beginning we were embarking on a very difficult task. And though I am not a fan of CalMatters, I do agree with their assessment of why this failed- Newsom had a very good strategy. Add in uninformed and weak/frightened voting Democrats, voter harvesting, mail-in ballots, and illegals who voted (yes, give it time and Justice Watch will located those counties with more voters than citizens living there) and you have a winning recipe. I also underscore this article’s acknowledgment of fear used to vilify Larry Elder. After all, what Democrat voter can’t resist holding onto Larry Elder being labeled a White Supremacist? It’s actually comical that Newsom utter the words after his victory: "We said yes to diversity, we said yes to inclusion, we said yes to pluralism. We said yes to all those things that we hold dear as Californians, and I would argue, as Americans…” Really, you don’t think Gavin that you and your voting Dems didn’t act the slightest bit racist? Here is a perfect time that the word racist isn’t overused.

If there is any indication that California will never recover from this slow motion free-fall, this is it. This response to a heightened flu virus is going to continue to November 2024. It’s been very very good for the Democrats, so why get rid of it now?

I wonder what the incoming volume of calls to U-Haul are this morning?




MichaelB
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 15, 2021 at 9:40 am
MichaelB, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Sep 15, 2021 at 9:40 am

"It’s actually comical that Newsom utter the words after his victory: "We said yes to diversity, we said yes to inclusion, we said yes to pluralism. We said yes to all those things that we hold dear as Californians, and I would argue, as Americans…”"


"Diversity" and "inclusion" is only applicable for Newsom and so called progressives if you agree with their policies and positions. Otherwise, expect to be referred to as a "racist", "gun nut", "science denier", "greedy", "misogynist", etc. It's comical that with the problems the state has regarding homelessness, crime, cost of living, water, energy, etc. (under one party rule), voters send the same people back somehow expecting a different result.


KG
Registered user
California Reflections
on Sep 15, 2021 at 10:07 am
KG, California Reflections
Registered user
on Sep 15, 2021 at 10:07 am

Republicans lost because they did not have any good candidates and they did not offer any solutions to the problems in California. They cannot win by reiterating list of problems without offering solutions. Another major reason they lost is because their leading candidate aligned himself with Trump, Abbott and DeSantis. DeSantis is an anti-science bully facilitating deaths of Floridians. Abbott is the same + forcing his version of healthcare and life on women against the constitution. Don’t make masks mandatory but force your version of healthcare and life on women - do you think Americans cannot see through this BS? That is why majority of Californian and Americans reject Republicans.

Sales force is now paying for its employees who want to get out of Texas.


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