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Newsom prevails in California's recall election

In local early returns, 73.13% of Contra Costa County voters and 83.13% of Alameda 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.

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.

The No side also 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.

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: DanvilleSanRamon.com 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, 73.13% of Contra Costa County voters and 83.13% of Alameda County voters say No to recall

by / CalMatters

Uploaded: Tue, Sep 14, 2021, 11:27 pm
Updated: Wed, Sep 15, 2021, 12:16 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.

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.

The No side also 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.

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: DanvilleSanRamon.com editor Jeremy Walsh contributed local results to this story.

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

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

Comments

Parent and Voter
Registered user
Danville
on Sep 15, 2021 at 6:46 am
Parent and Voter, Danville
Registered user
on Sep 15, 2021 at 6:46 am

Is journalism dead? Rhetoric such as attempting to "Throw" Newsom out of office is so unprofessional. It is called a "recall" which is a legal right given to citizens. It is not the first time that a Recall has occurred in California and there were good reasons to make the effort. Apparently the voters did not care about Newsom's Big Government and High Taxes and did not pay attention to how California's major cities have almost literally gone into the toilet with homelessness, drugs, crime and filth. There is a reason so many Californians have fled our State in the past few years. And it is a fact that they have left. It is a shame what has happened to our State.


MO
Registered user
Danville
on Sep 15, 2021 at 8:15 am
MO, Danville
Registered user
on Sep 15, 2021 at 8:15 am

It might be interesting to use
WheresMyBallot.sos.ca.gov to track your ballot status. A number of people (Republicans) reportedly went to their polling places to vote & were told they had already voted. The very lax voting process currently being set in place by this one- party ruled state is a set up for voter fraud. Continued use of this sketchy system will cement one-party power in place. One vote, one day, voter ID, no machines!
Two million people across party lines signed for the recall because we are tired of the gross mismanagement of our state.


Malcolm Hex
Registered user
San Ramon
on Sep 16, 2021 at 8:24 am
Malcolm Hex, San Ramon
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2021 at 8:24 am

The fact that Newsom wasn’t recalled is now irrelevant. However, the recall put a blemish/stain on his record that will never go away.

More interesting is to see if Newsom comes out with a “unity” speech about bringing Californians together. Of course, that probably wouldn’t work because Newsom is not trustworthy - just like the current clown in the White House.


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