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How Gavin Newsom beat California recall in landslide

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recall move appears to have fizzled out in major suburban Southern California and other “swing” counties, giving the incumbent a considerable cushion to thwart efforts to oust him, according to preliminary data.

There are still many ballots to count. But of the more than 9.1 million votes cast on Wednesday morning, nearly 64% were in favor of keeping Newsom in power.

That overwhelming margin, which could tighten further as more ballots are processed, was fueled by unbalanced victories in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County – two traditional Democratic strongholds.

In LA County, about 71% of the ballots counted Wednesday morning opposed the recall. In San Francisco, the proportion of voters in favor of maintaining the status quo as governor was just under 87%, according to initial results released by the California Secretary of State’s office.

That Newsom wins in the deep blue areas is no surprise. But it appears to have performed relatively well in the rest of urban Southern California as well, according to preliminary results.

In San Diego County, the second most populous in California, nearly 59% of the votes counted so far were against the recall. Margins were thinner in Orange County at 52.6%, Riverside County at 52.4% and San Bernardino County at 52%.

While the “no” on the recall dominated California’s most densely populated coastal counties, the “yes” prevailed throughout much of the state’s rural north, as well as much of the Central Valley – the traditional GOP areas with much smaller populations.

Although still subject to change, Newsom is currently surpassing its margin in the 2018 election, when it won with 62% of the vote.

The recall offered Republicans their best chance in more than a decade to take the helm of the largest state in the Union.

But the effort was undermined when Newsom and the nation’s top Democrats, aided by visits to California by President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, described the campaign to topple the governor as a “life-or-death” battle. death “against” Trumpism “and the far right. anti-vaccine activists.

Conservative talk show host Larry Elder led the 46 candidates to replace Newsom, but the second ballot question became moot after a majority of California voters decided to keep Newsom in power.

Newsom expressed the dismissal of the recall as a vote for “all of those things that are dear to us as Californians.” Her victory, he said, was a victory for science-based COVID-19 vaccines to end the pandemic and abortion rights for women, as well as economic and racial justice.

“I am humble and grateful to the millions and millions of Californians who have exercised their fundamental right to vote and speak out so overwhelmingly by rejecting division, rejecting cynicism, rejecting much of the negativity that has defined our policy in this country over so many years, ”Newsom said.

One factor that fueled the recall was Newsom’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which critics considered too strict. But polls show Californians generally supported its performance against coronaviruses.

Dave Gilliard, one of the Republican strategists who led efforts to overthrow the governor, said Newsom was in serious trouble until August. That changed once Elder became the lead candidate to replace Newsom as governor.

“Once the focus moved away from Newsom and his opponent, Elder in this case, his numbers improved dramatically,” said Gilliard. “He managed to get Democrats interested in the elections again. “

Elder was a perfect foil, said Gilliard. The Republican opposed the right to abortion and supported offshore oil drilling – anathema to the state’s Democratic majority. Elder has also been a staunch supporter of Trump, an immensely unpopular figure in California.

In fact, Gilliard said, supporters of the recall begged Trump’s advisers to “convince him to stay out of this,” which was successful until recent days, when he began baselessly asserting that the recall elections in California were “rigged”.