By Tyler Clifton, Staff Writer
The recall election for Gov. Gavin Newsom (D – Calif.) concluded last week, allowing the incumbent governor to serve out the year and a half remaining in his term.
This was the second election of its kind in California’s history, the first happening in 2003 when the then-sitting governor, Gray Davis, was replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Newsom was announced as the winner last Tuesday evening when approximately 70% of the votes had been counted. At that time, there were 5.8 million (63.9%) votes in favor of keeping the governor, compared to the 3.3 million (36.1%) of votes in favor of a recall.
Newsom spoke late on Sept. 14, thanking those who voted to keep him in power.
“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,” the governor stated.
The ballot asked voters two questions: “Should Newsom be replaced?” and “If so, who should take his place?” There were a total of 46 candidates attempting to unseat Newsom. Notable candidates from the GOP included Olympic medalist Caitlyn Jenner and local businessman John Cox, who would travel to campaign events with a live Kodiak bear. Two of the Democratic candidates were Hollywood actor John Kilpatrick and YouTube billionaire Kevin Paffrath.
This movement to unseat Newsom gained serious traction, as around 1.5 million Californians signed the petition to trigger a recall vote. A primary motivator for many were frustrations over how the state is handling the pandemic, with particular criticism of Newsom for appearing without a mask at a dinner party, not long after he shut down the state during a spike in cases.
Following the announcement, President Joe Biden congratulated Newsom, saying that this was a public endorsement of how the Democratic leadership chose to fight the pandemic.
During the campaigning process, President Biden called the frontrunning candidate of the Republican Party, Larry Elder, a “clone of President Trump.” Had the election being recalled, Elder was likely to assume the governorship.
There was also a heavy push from Democratic leadership as the election drew near, as Biden and former President Barack Obama publicly endorsed Newsom and his leadership.
Barring the unforeseen, Newsom will now remain in office until January 2023, when his term is up.
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