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Newsom’s recall election: 6 things to watch out for in California today

The recall effort is largely an election by mail ballot. All active voters in the destination state received a ballot in the mail before election day, but those who wanted to vote in person were also able to do so. In-person polls end at 8 p.m. Pacific time in California on Tuesday.

A series of recent investigations have shown that Newsom and the anti-recall effort have a strong lead. The most recent Public Policy Institute of California survey found that 58% of likely voters favor keeping Newsom in power, compared to 39% who would like to remove him.

But if a majority of Californians vote to remove Newsom, the second question in the ballot will determine who replaces him. Republican talk radio host Larry Elder is running away with the contest, according to the same polls.

Newsom closed the recall attempt by nationalizing the contest, focusing on what it would mean for California – one of the most liberal states in the country – to be represented by a Republican, comparing Elder to the former president Donald Trump and slamming the way other Republican governors have ruled their states during the coronavirus pandemic. Elder has repeatedly hit Newsom over more local issues – ranging from homelessness to drought to crime – but ended his campaign by suggesting baseless “shenanigans” in the contest, claims that have been made. repetitions, without evidence, by Trump and the Right. media.

Newsom’s ouster would be a blow to Democrats, but if he is able to win on Tuesday, the failed recall could undermine Republican plans to fight Democrats’ overbreadth in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic – especially in a series of competitive California home races in 2022.

Here are six things to watch for on election night in California:

Does Newsom run it?

Newsom was blunt when asked on Sunday whether the margin of his potential victory on Tuesday matters.

“A win is a win,” Newsom said. “We’re just trying to get our people out.”

But national Democratic officials and agents across the country will monitor the results, keeping an eye out for lessons to be learned for the mid-term of 2022 and beyond. Recalls are one-off elections – they are much more about the incumbent, less the national environment and this election comes at an unusual time for people to vote – but if the “no” to the recall vote wins only In deep Blue California single digits, several leading Democrats will be worried about what that portends for the party in 2022.

The Newsom team was well aware of this prior to the recall. Early polls showed Republicans were much more keen to vote on the recall, even though they were outnumbered by nearly 2 to 1 in the state. This gave Newsom’s top operatives a bit of a stir, with their nightmare scenario being a fiery Republican base and a depressed – or unconscious – Democratic base.

Based on ballot return data – Democrats appear to outperform their party record in ballots that have already been returned – this worst-case scenario has not been realized.

Will Elder accept the results?

Even before the results were announced, the leading Republican candidate Elder picked up on former President Donald Trump’s lies about voter fraud and hinted at the prospect of “shenanigans” in California.

Casting doubt on the integrity of the elections – despite the fact that there is no evidence of widespread fraud anywhere in the United States – has become popular in GOP politics and is almost demanded by a base still loyal to Trump.

And Elder – who previously said President Joe Biden won in 2020 “fairly and squarely” – more recently embraced those same lies.

“The 2020 election, in my opinion, was full of shenanigans,” Elder recently told Fox News. “And my fear is that they will try that in this election here and remember.”

Elder is encouraged by Trump, who said in a statement filled with lies Monday, the day before the election: “Does anyone really believe that the recall election in California is not rigged?”

Elder said his campaign had a team of attorneys who “would take legal action in a timely manner” if problems arose.

Did the nationalization of Newsom work?

Newsom may have been looking to keep his senior California position. But his message in the final days of the campaign was notably national.

Newsom has repeatedly warned the Democratic public that Elder is “on the right of Donald Trump,” citing the former president who remains deeply unpopular in California. The governor also compared his leadership to that of the Republican governors of Florida and Texas, accusing the two of removing their states from a “Covid cliff”. And the Democratic leader has called on many National Democrats – from President Joe Biden to Vice President Kamala Harris to former President Barack Obama to Senses Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar – to come to his aid in the final weeks of the campaign. .

Elder also adopted a national tone in his campaign noting that he could, in the event of a vacancy in the US Senate, appoint a Republican and end Democratic control of the legislature.

The strategy turned Tuesday’s election into a pseudo-referendum on whether Trump – and the current specter of Trumpism – can still kick Democratic voters just under a year away from the 2020 election.

Based on conversations with many Democratic voters in California, it’s clear that Trump remains at the forefront.

“When you have another candidate that looks a lot like what we had 4 years ago, that’s not what we want in California,” said Maria Morales, an elected official from El Monte, California. “We want to be as progressive as in the past.”

A test of the popularity of severe coronavirus measures

Republicans were hoping a recall election in deep blue California would reveal a national handbook on how to tackle Democrats’ overbringing in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, if the polls are correct, it could have the opposite effect – revealing broad public support for measures like the vaccination mandates Newsom has imposed on teachers and healthcare workers. Newsom not only ran for tough coronavirus measures, he put them at the heart of his final argument to voters and used Elder’s promise to roll back the rules against Republican hope for governor.

Other Democrats on the ballot this year, including New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Terry McAuliffe in Virginia, have also passed the vaccination warrants.

Although all three run in blue states, their approach shows the growing belief among some Democrats that the wave of public sentiment is turning against Republicans who stand up for the personal rights and choices of those whose refusal to get vaccinated contributes to prolong the pandemic.

If Newsom wins by a healthy margin, it could strengthen Democrats’ belief that tough measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 will bear fruit this year and in next year’s midterm elections.

The impact of mail on voting

It could be a long night.

If the recall is near, California isn’t known for counting ballots quickly, which means the final contest outcome could take some time to determine.

Every active voter in California has received a ballot for this reminder, and for those ballots to be counted, they must be returned in person before the polls close on Tuesday, or they must be postmarked on Election Day and received by county officials. before September 21, seven days later.

California was one of the few states to change its voting rules for the 2020 election and require all voters to receive a ballot in the mail before election day. This practice continued for the recall, and Democrats in the state legislature introduced a bill that would ensure all active registered voters receive a ballot for all upcoming elections.

Newsom did not say if he would sign the bill in a conversation with reporters on Saturday, but said: “The prospect of California extending it is offered to the Governor of California and I hope to be there for consider signing it. ”

No likely celebrity winner

Rarely has a candidate garnered so much attention, while garnering so little voter interest, as reality star and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner.

Jenner started the recall campaign with one major trump card: in a large field of little-known candidates, she had wide notoriety. After all, California had seen new to politics take advantage of their celebrity status before: in 2003, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger became the Republican winner after the state recalled unpopular Democratic Governor Gray Davis.

Jenner, however, has at times faced hostile and transphobic treatment, most notably at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas.

She stumbled in interviews, both at the start and at the end of the race, including stating on CNN last week that she supported the right to abortion, but also Texas’ decision to ban abortion at- beyond six weeks – before many women even know they are pregnant.

And she left the state, and the country, in July, in the middle of the countryside, to shoot a reality show in Australia.

Jenner now enters Election Day barely entering the polls.

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