California recall yields winners and losers beyond Newsom and Elder

Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom was the winner of the California gubernatorial recall, with voters choosing by a wide margin to keep him in office despite criticism from critics for botching the state's COVID-19 pandemic response to homelessness amok and had proven otherwise to be a failed leader.
The former San Francisco mayor and lieutenant governor slightly dismissed an attempt to remove him prematurely. Newsom escaped the fate of a former Democratic California governor, Gray Davis, who was dismissed by voters in 2003 in favor of former bodybuilder and action movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger. Newsom's decisive victory saves his political career and positions him strongly to win a second, four-year term in 2022, and then perhaps seek out the White House.
Newsom wasn't the only one to emerge from the recall with an improved reputation - or, vice versa, struck. Here are the top winners and losers of the recall battle in the nation's most populous state.
WINNER
Robb Korinke. The self-proclaimed "data nerd" was skeptical of the recall's success before it got cool.
In a Twitter thread on Aug. 7, shortly after a University of California, Berkeley / Los Angeles Times poll shocked many Democrats by finding that 47% of voters were in favor of Newsom's removal and only 50% were in favor of keeping it Korinke that the race wouldn't be almost as close. Korinke said California voters' dominant Democratic bias has been too heavy for recall advocates.
"Enough with the nonsense, the Newsom Recall will fail by 10 points or more. Here's some reality and simple math," wrote Korinke of Long Beach-based GrassrootsLab.
"California no longer has enough Republicans to win even a low-turnout election, even if you convince a significant number of Democrats to actually vote their own party out," Korinke added on Twitter. “Republicans are less than 1 in 4 California voters, around 24%. So let's just say every Republican in the state votes to oust Newsom next month, only about 1/3 in favor of Republicans. But let's be generous and let's say the recall divides Indys. That puts you in the low 40s for 'yes' on recall. How many Democrats will Newsom be ousted in favor of a Republican? "
Korinke's analysis turned out to be prophetic, with Newsom making an easy win for keeping to stay as governor (final, certified results pending.)
Garry South. South, a senior Democrat adviser in California, argued early and often against his party's replacement candidate in the second part of the recall. This approach contradicted many prominent Democratic anti-recall voices advocating a Plan B candidate should Newsom be removed from office.
But South had seen this movie before when it didn't end happily for the Democrats. South was Davis' main political adviser in his landslide governor's victory in 1998 and his closer re-election in 2002. Then, when Davis was removed from office in 2003, Democrats were divided over choosing a high-profile replacement candidate to ensure that office was in their hands their party stayed. Most of the big Democrats eventually stayed out, but Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante ran as an alternative. Bustamante received 31.5% of the vote, far behind Republican Schwarzenegger with 48.6%. (In a separate vote, Davis was dismissed, with 55.4% of voters voting "yes".)
In 2021, South gave an early warning that the backup democracy strategy would be a disaster this time around. Instead, he claimed the Democrats should stay away from a replacement candidate and focus entirely on keeping Newsom in office. And it was this approach that helped turn the tide in favor of Newsom, who was elected governor in 2018.
With no prominent Democrat emerging as an alternative, Newsom and his supporters effectively nationalized the recall election last month. They put the most popular second-round candidate, Republican talk radio host Larry Elder, a deputy to former President Donald Trump. Many California Democrats vilify Trump, and Elder's attachment to the lead recall candidate made the recall a two-person race. Newsom would always win in such a scenario.
LOSER
Republican Elected Officials. Elder's rise to the top of the replacement nominee despite never holding office reflects the difficulty of elected Republicans running nationwide. The last time a GOP candidate won a national race was in 2006, and
California has only gained a deeper shade of blue since then.
Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Rep. Kevin Kiley received only single-digit support in the 2021 recall. Faulconer was seen as a relatively centrist Republican and received the endorsement of the Los Angeles Times editorial team as an alternative to Newsom (although the newspaper advised against resigning the incumbent governor).
Kiley, meanwhile, fits into the form of an aspiring Republican incumbent with excellent academic qualifications, including Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. But because of California's strong blue bias, Kiley, a Harvard and Yale Law School alumnus, will have a hard time making the leap into a national electoral office. Kiley is 36 years old and won a seat in the federal assembly in the conservative outer ring of the northern and eastern suburbs of Sacramento in 2016. But even under seemingly favorable circumstances such as dismissal, there seems to be little path for him to a nationwide office.
Future recalls. After the second gubernatorial recall in 18 years to get the vote, Democrats in the states in Sacramento could try to increase the difficulty of triggering such races. The California recall dates back to 1911 when progressive Republican Governor Hiram Johnson led his passage to thwart special interests and corruption in the state government. Only a handful of civil servants have been recalled in the centuries since it came into effect, but the Democrats are now keen to prevent what they see as the emerging Republican trick of winning gubernatorial elections through the back door because they fail to convince voters in regular elections .
One of the proposed reforms to the recall process is to call for a higher signature threshold, above the current 12% of voters in the last gubernatorial elections. South supports this idea, along with tightening the allowable reasons for the recall, which requires a certain percentage of signatures - say 25% - to come from voters registered with the same party that is the target of the recall and Increase the filing requirements.
Whatever the specifics, Democrats with strong majorities in both houses of the legislature and a Democratic governor are likely to reconsider state recall rules. Changes would still require the approval of California voters in a statewide poll. But after Tuesday's GOP recall was rejected, there is good reason to believe that getting such elections on the ballot may soon become more difficult.
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Tags: California, California Recall, Campaigns, Gavin Newsom
Original Author: David Mark
Original Location: California Recall brings winners and losers beyond Newsom and Elder
In this article:
Gavin Newsom
California Governor
Larry Elder
American political commentator

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