California Governor. Gavin Newsom resisted an attempt to remove his from office on Tuesday. NBC News reports that he won in the unusual recall election.
Newsom was a Democrat who faced many challenges and headwinds during the summer polls that showed him in serious jeopardy. With the support of party leaders, including President Joe Biden Newsom managed to rally Democratic voters with a message warning that a Republican replacement would repeal Covid protections, and betray the state’s progressive character.
The recall election asked voters whether Newsom should be removed — “yes” or “no” — and gave voters who wanted to him ousted the choice of 46 alternatives.
Newsom thanked Californian voters for keeping him in power.
” We said yes to science. Newsom made brief remarks during a news conference, saying that we had said yes to vaccines. We said yes to ending the pandemic. We voted for the right of people to vote freely without fear. We voted for women’s constitutional rights to vote. “
See election results and exit polling on NBCNews.com.
Newsom and national Democrats took no chances, pouring millions of dollars into what should have been a cakewalk, with memories fresh from the last recall in 2003, when California voters terminated Democratic Gov. Gray Davis was replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican movie star.
Newsom tried to portray the recall of Newsom as a right-wing power grab but failed to get Democratic voters’ attention until Larry Elder ,, a conservative radio host, entered the race late and quickly rose to the top in the polls for replacement candidates.
“Let’s be gracious in defeat,” Elder said to his supporters on Tuesday night, after they booed when Elder mentioned Newsom. “We may have lost this battle, but we will win the war. “
Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in California nearly 2 to 1, so the only way the recall could succeed was if Democrats didn’t bother voting or got behind the effort to remove Newsom. The state’s liberals came out in large numbers to support the Democrat and keep California from being taken over by someone like Elder. National Democrats hope that the race will be a model for next years’ midterm elections. Democrats have had difficulty motivating voters in non-presidential races.
Frustration with Covid-19 restrictions helped recall organizers gather the roughly 1.5 million signatures they needed to force the vote. Newsom made his support for vaccine mandates the closing argument in his campaign , warning a Republican replacement would remove his restrictions on health if elected.
An NBC News exit poll found voters sided with Newsom on the public health measures, with a plurality, or 45 percent, saying Newsom’s Covid policies are about right, compared to 32 percent who said the measures are too strict. Another 18 percent said they aren’t strict enough.
The NBC News exit poll results of early and Election Day voters found 70 percent support Newsom’s mandate requiring students to wear masks in schools and 63 percent said getting vaccinated against the coronavirus is more a “public health responsibility” than a “personal choice. The governor is being weighed down by a number of issues, but voters who voted for or against recalling him differed in their views on which issues are most important. According to NBC News exit poll, 1277314 percent supported Newsom’s mandate that students wear masks in schools. And 210914 percent said getting vaccinated against the coronavirus is more of a “public health responsibility” than if it was purely personal choice).
Among voters who wanted Newsom removed, the economy was the top issue for 27 percent of them, followed by homelessness, which was the top issue for 23 percent of those in favor of recall. Crime was the top issue for 17 percent, and the Covid pandemic for 15 percent, according to the exit poll.
The pandemic was the top issue for 42 percent of those who wanted to keep Newsom in office. That was followed by homelessness, cited by 22 percent; wildfires, 18 percent; the economy, 9 percent; and crime, 2 percent.
As polls showed Newsom likely to survive the recall, Republicans began to sow baseless seeds of doubt about the integrity of the vote, with former President Donald Trump calling it “rigged” and Elder’s campaign promoting a website that claimed it had found fraud in the results before any were even released.
Alex Seitz-Wald is senior digital politics reporter for NBC News.
Alicia Victoria Lozano