New Delhi: Media reports said the Republican bid to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom ended in defeat late Tuesday as he claimed a landslide victory in a special election in the most populous state in America.
The Associated Press declared Newsom the winner after voting closed on Tuesday.
The 53-year-old won his first term in 2018 with a landslide victory of 62 per cent and his term will end in January 2023. Regular elections are due next year, which will decide Congress’s control and the governor’s prospects. A re-election has just come into force.
According to a report in The New York Times, 66 percent of the 8 million ballots counted by 10 p.m. (Pacific time) on Tuesday were in Newsom’s favour.
“I am grateful and grateful to the millions and millions of Californians who exercised their fundamental right to vote,” Newsom said in his victory speech in the state capital, Sacramento.
“Economic justice, social justice, racial justice, environmental justice, our values where California has made so much progress, all those things were on the ballot this evening,” Reuters quoted him as saying.
Newsom’s challenger, Larry Elder, is a supporter of former President Donald Trump. The radio talk show host was against COVID-19 protocols such as wearing masks and immunization mandates and promised to do away with the requirements if he won the election.
Why Newsom faced a recall vote
While Newsom was popular with voters in California, his liberal policies on LGBTQIA rights, immigration and crime angered conservatives who campaigned to oust him.
Many Republicans joined in because they were also impressed by Newsom’s decision to close schools during the pandemic and his aggressive demand for vaccinations and wearing masks.
The anti-Newsom lobby had collected 1.5 million signatures from Californians who supported a special recall polling.
The outcome of this election was significant as Democrats are already gearing up for a tough fight in the 2022 elections. California is considered a party stronghold and losing here would have made things more difficult.
Democratic leaders, including President Joe Biden, saw the recall bid led by local and national Republican groups as part of an agenda to oust Democrats from power.
The Reuters report, citing Democratic strategist Steven Maviglio, said Newsom’s decisive victory “has a lesson for the National Democrats, who will fight next year for a majority in Congress and seats in the governor’s mansion”.
“Nationalising this election was the smartest move for him,” he said.
Newsom was all for strong COVID-19 protections such as mask and vaccination mandates, which “resonated with Democrat voters,” said Maviglio, press secretary to former Governor Gray Davis, a Democrat who is the only California governor to hold a recall election. has lost. He was replaced in 2003 by actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In California, Republicans are outnumbered by Democrats by a two-to-one ratio, and the election saw high turnout as pandemic voting rules allowed each of the state’s 22 million voters to send ballots with prepaid mail.
Media reports quoted Elder as telling his supporters in Orange County, “We are pleased to lose. We have lost the battle, but we are going to win the war.”