The political fate of Gavin Newsom was at stake as the polls ended on Tuesday night in a recall election to determine whether the governor of California cwould stand on his post, a closely watched race with nationwide reverberations.
As the second gubernatorial recall effort in California history to stand Going to the polls, the election represented ed a rare chance for Republicans to take control in a deep blue state.
Voters were asked two questions: Should Newsom be removed from his duties and, if recalled, who should take his place?
Millions of Californians voted before Election Day, either by mail or in early polling places, in a special election it costs the state $ 276 million. Meanwhile, voters in person took to the polls from top to bottom on Tuesday. The polling stations closed at 8 p.m. local time.
The first rerounds indicated a strong performance from Democratic voters and opposition to the recall. Among the first voters, Democrats were twice as numerous as Republicans - although the gap is expected to narrow, with a greater proportion of Republicans having to vote on election day. Special elections often attract fewer voters, but postal voting extensions adopted due to the pandemic may have made turnout easier.
Newsom, which is a very popular governor since being elected in 2018, has found himself in a special position after a Republican-led recall effort gained momentum amid the worst of the pandemic state.
The governor looked confident heading into the home stretch, with polls and early feedback indicating he is in a strong position. "I feel good, as long as we can get this vote out ", Newso told me after greeting volunteers in San Francisco hours before the polls closed.
Newsom passed on Monday campaign with Joe Biden , who has warned that the result of the breed recall could resonate well outside of Golden State.
"The eyes of the nation are on California", he said.
Meanwhile, the main Republican challenger, right-wing radio host Larry Elder, has laid the groundwork for disinformation to falsely imply that the 'election , if he loses, was rigged against him.
Speaking to Newsom in Long Beach on Monday, the president said Elder of "Donald Trump clone ".
"Can you imagine it being governor of this state? said Biden." You can't let this happen. The stake is too high. "
Over 40 contestants are running against Newsom, including former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, YouTube personality Kevin Paffrath and reality TV star and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, who has been seen heading to the polls to vote in person on Tuesday.
No prominent Democratic candidate ran against Newsom, who encouraged his supporters to leave the question of his replacement blank on their ballots. If even a hair's breadth, over 50% of voters choose to run Governor, Elder or any challenger with a plurality could take office and turn politics upside down in un Mainly democratic state.
Such a result would provoke national reverberations by placing a potential antagonistic Republican leader at the head of the most populous and productive state in the country, and potentially condemning Democrats ahead of midterm elections.
Elder held his closing rally in Orange County, where he urged supporters to contact their friends and neighbors to vote.
"Make sure your friends vote, vote, vote and try to get 10 other friends to vote and answer every call, make every call, knock on every door . We're going to win this thing if we vote, ”Elder said from a hotel ballroom in Costa Mesa.
The implication that a Republican could overthrow a deep-blue California Democrat would criticize the party for being out of touch with voters. aUpheaval in the Golden State "could also encourage potentially nationwide recall elections," said Mindy Romero, who heads the California Civic Engagement Project at the University of Southern California.
The recall was largely fueled by anger over Newsom's actions during the pandemic, which included the imposition of the statewide first shutdown order from the country. Critics said he was heavy handed, shutting down businesses and keeping children out of classrooms longer than necessary.
" I'm mad. It should be a freedom of choice. What is that? A dictatorship ? asked Janet Webb, a 69-year-old Lafayette resident who voted for Elder.
But other voters backed Newsom 's actions in the face of multiple crises, including the pandemic and record seasons ofWildfires.
Briana Mendoza, 30, said the last thing California needs is more unrest. She voted to keep Newsom.
"We are in the middle of a pandemic. Why would we recall the governor who really tried to curb the spread of virus? "said the social worker in San Diego.
" We I don't want Elder in office, "she said . "This is ridiculous. We just got Trump out. We don't want a Trump puppet.
After initially rejecting the recall as a Republican-led distraction, the Democrats and Newsom's campaign has pivoted in recent weeks to characterize it as a referendum on Trumpism in California, with "life or death" consequences. Meanwhile, prominent Democrats in California and Washington DC, including theSenators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar, Progressive Representatives Barbara Lee and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Vice President Kamala Harris, all came to Newsom's aid.
Elder, on the other hand, laid the groundwork for disinformation to falsely imply that the election, if he loses, has been compromised. The radio host recently claimed that the "shenanigans " could skew the race results, echoing Donald Trump's baseless allegations of electoral fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
There was no confirmed evidence of widespread fraud, and Newsom made some scathing remarks that implied otherwise, stating on Tuesday that he would accept the results elections and urged Elder and others to do the same. "As an American, I 'm ashamed. I ' m sick of it. Stop. Growing up. These people are literally vandalizing our democracy and trust our institutions, ”he told a crowd in San Francisco.
During election rallies, Newsom stressed that his first steps lockdown and the first nationwide mask warrant for schools saved lives. But the governor is still struggling to overcome several missteps: Under Newsom's watch, the state unemployment service had to contend with large arrears, while paying around $ 31 billion in claims. fraudulent. The state 's deployment of the vaccine was initially chaotic and slow, leaving behind some of the most vulnerable frontline workers.
A hasty lobbyist at dinner Michelin-starred restaurant French Laundry, and the governor's choice to send his own children back to private school before many public schools reopened, have heightened residents' frustrations. PeMeanwhile, after the worst wildfire year on record in California in 2020, and as catastrophic fires continue to blaze statewide, Newsom has attempted to allay concerns that he has vastly overestimated wildfire prevention efforts.
Voters who remained lukewarm on Newsom said they still viewed it as the best of bad choices. "I'm with a lot of people who might like to remember Gavin, but who aren't necessarily sympathetic to the presence of Larry Elder," said John Friedrich, a retiree living in Stockton, Calif., About an hour south of the capital. , Sacramento.
"All kinds of things have happened this year - devastating things," he added. “Any governor would have a tough job.
The Associated Press contributed to the report