President Joe Biden urged Californians to keep Gov. Gavin Newsom (R) in office on Monday, on the eve of a closely watched recall election that has worried Democrats and emboldened Republicans as the nation continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The decision you’re about to make… it’s going to reverberate across the country,” Biden said Monday in Long Beach. “You all know that last year I had to fight the real Donald Trump. This year’s leading Republican gubernatorial candidate is the closest I have ever seen to a Trump clone in your state.
“Can you imagine him being governor of this state?” Added the president, referring to Larry Elder, the Republican frontrunner among the list of candidates who would replace Newsom if he loses. “You can’t let this happen.”
Newsom has received praise from many Californians for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, imposing aggressive measures early on, including mask warrants and stay-at-home orders. But Republicans have used the measures to bolster their recall record, highlighting school closings and pandemic closures in a bid to win the governorship in the country’s most populous state.
Newsom also made missteps during the pandemic. In particular, he drew criticism when he celebrated a lobbyist friend’s birthday in November 2020 by dining with a group at The French Laundry, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Napa Valley, after telling Californians they are not expected to travel and should avoid gatherings until the pandemic eased.
Newsom on Monday presented the race as a crossroads for the state and defended his efforts to protect Californians from COVID-19, saying his administration would remain focused on racial, social and environmental justice. He highlighted his visit with Biden on Monday to northern California, where more than 2.2 million acres have already burned in wildfires this year.
“This is a remarkable moment in the history of our state and our nation,” Newsom said Monday in Long Beach. “With all the progress we’ve made… all of this is at risk if we don’t show up and vote against this recall tomorrow.”
“Racial justice will be on the ballot tomorrow night,” he continued. “Economic justice is on the ballot tomorrow night. Social justice is on the ballot. Environmental justice.
Every registered voter in California received a ballot in the mail last month asking two questions: Do they want to recall Newsom? And if it is removed, who should replace it? Anyone who has not already returned their ballot can cast it or go to the polls in person on Tuesday to answer these questions.
If more than 50% of voters back a Newsom recall, he will be removed from his post and whoever has the most votes as a replacement will complete his term, which is due to expire in early 2023. It doesn’t matter how tall he is. a candidate’s share of votes is as long as it is higher than any of the others.
The Associated Press has found that it’s possible that someone running to topple Newsom could win with just 25% of the vote.
Polls conducted ahead of the election show Newsom was in favor of defeating Elder and becoming the state’s first governor to survive a recall vote. A recent poll found that 60% of likely voters said they would keep him in office while about 39% said they would vote for the governor’s recall. Democrats outnumber Republicans in the state twice.
Only one more recall attempt (and there have been many) resulted in an election. This recall, from Democratic Governor Gray Davis, resulted in his impeachment and replacement by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003.
Elder has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks. A report released on Sunday by HuffPost’s Daniel Marans revealed that he spoke at a conference in 2017 that also included speeches by white nationalists. While Elder was not in the room during the events of the other speakers, he appeared on a panel with them. (His campaign said any attempt to link him to white nationalist speakers was “absurd.”)
Elder also pledged to oppose Newsom’s efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus, saying he would lift the rules on masks and vaccine warrants if elected. The Republican has touted voter support in recent weeks as an indicator of the Newsom administration, calling the Democrats’ massive spending and the president’s visits evidence that the party is concerned about the recall.
“I think I energized the state, I energized the party. … That’s why they bring this heavy burden, ”Elder said recently of the heavily-funded Democratic effort to support Newsom.
Biden’s visit to California on Monday is only his second in-person campaign event since entering the White House.
Vice President Kamala Harris, who was one of the senators from California, also visited the state last week to support the governor, calling him a “great American leader” and “a friend of mine. date ”.
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