Governor Gavin Newsom on July 14, 2021 in Bell Gardens, CA.
Irfan Khan | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
California Governor Gavin Newsom could face a more difficult battle than originally anticipated in the upcoming recall election.
The districts will be sending ballots to every registered voter in mid-August, giving the Democratic governor a month to raise the turnout for the September 14 special election.
The odds appear to be in Newsom’s favor, especially with the number of registered Democrats vastly outnumbering Republicans in the state and dwarfing the money raised by supporters of the recall from the governor’s nearly $ 47 million war chest is provided.
However, complacency among Democratic supporters and the introduction of new health regulations for the coronavirus pandemic can seriously jeopardize Newsom’s chances of survival.
“The Democrats had no urgency and that is Newsom’s biggest challenge right now,” said Democratic adviser Michael Soneff. “His ability to convince the Democrats to return their ballots within a month will make all the difference in whether or not he wins the recall.”
Recent polls show that more voters oppose Newsom’s removal than support it, but an enthusiasm gap between Republican and Democratic voters has created uncertainty.
In a poll conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, and the Los Angeles Times in late July, 36% of the state’s registered voters would vote to remove Newsom, while 51% would vote to keep him in office.
The numbers among the likely voters were more evenly distributed, with 47% approving the recall of Newsom and 50% approving its retention.
This suggests an oversized interest from Republicans, who were most supportive of the recall, according to the poll.
Democratic voters and voters who do not favor either party may have less interest in the election as they believe Newsom will easily beat recall, according to the poll.
“If everyone voted, Newsom would be in a safe place now. But that’s not how elections work in this country. I think the governor and his team understand that even his supporters are not that enthusiastic about him right now.” “Said Dan Schnur, a political professor at three California universities who previously headed the California Fair Political Practices Commission.
“In the next few weeks he will spend less time convincing recall followers to change their minds and spending a lot more time and energy just motivating his own base to make the effort to show up,” said Cord.
The governor and his campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Cover the airways with advertising
Newsom’s ads denouncing the recall cover airways and digital spaces to reach Democratic voters. Most recently, an ad with Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Condemned “Trump Republicans” behind the recall efforts.
“You are coming to power in California, abusing the recall process and costing taxpayers millions,” Warren said.
Unions like the California Labor Federation also play a role in the governor’s anti-recall campaign by running voluntary campaigns and rallies over the past week.
But Newsom’s chances are also jeopardized by its handling of the pandemic, the same politically charged issue that allowed the recall last fall to gain momentum.
As Covid cases rise again in California and across the country, Newsom’s response could spark more Republican opposition and potentially discourage Democrats from casting their vote in September.
“It will be very difficult for any Republican candidate to beat Gavin Newsom. But Covid sure can,” said Schnur.
The highly contagious Delta variant is the most common cause of new infections in the state, the California Department of Health announced on Thursday.
CDPH added that California is experiencing “the fastest spike in Covid-19 cases in the entire pandemic,” with 18.3 new cases per 100,000 people per day and a nine-fold increase in the number of cases in two months.
In response, the governor issued new pandemic health ordinances that the CDPH recently said must have all nearly 2.2 million California health and long-term care workers fully vaccinated by September 30th.
Los Angeles county also reintroduced mask requirements for fully vaccinated individuals last month, and several other California counties followed suit last week.
While Newsom was leaving the counties to make those decisions, it issued a statewide mandate last month requiring K-12 students to wear masks indoors for the upcoming school year, NBC Los Angeles reported.
This move led to violent backlash from the state school authorities. One in Orange County filed a lawsuit against Newsom Wednesday for allegedly “abusing his power” by forcing children to wear masks, according to NBC Los Angeles.
If Covid conditions worsen and Newsom imposes state bans, its chances of surviving the recall could be jeopardized, Schnur said.
“The recall qualified for the first time when the closings were their worst last winter. That spring, when things opened up, Newsom’s numbers were starting to get better for him, “Schnur said.
Republicans rush to pandemic response
Republican candidates vying to replace Newsom picked up his response to the pandemic, beating him last fall in the GOP recall debate over his masked mandates and state closings last fall.
Businessman John Cox, Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Rep. Kevin Kiley, and Former Rep. Doug Ose all took part in the debate, calling for more personal autonomy in the pandemic and less “government handover”.
Cox called Newsom’s reaction “an absolute catastrophe” which led to “far more danger and far more problems”.
Addressing Newsom’s K-12 mask mandate, Ose suggested that parents have the option of moving their children to another school if they refuse to wear masks indoors.
“I have great confidence in people’s ability to make their own decisions,” said Ose. “Instead of giving people mandates, we have to give them options.”
Of the 46 confirmed candidates running for the recall election, 24 of them are Republicans.
This includes Caitlyn Jenner, a reality TV star and former Olympic athlete who runs with the help of Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Brad Parscale.
But the California Republican Party announced on Saturday that it will not support a candidate in the election as supporting a candidate would divide the party and discourage GOP voters, NBC News reported.
Newsom is facing other problems in the state, such as forest fire season and a drought emergency, but Soneff said they pose little of a threat to him in the recall election.
“Forest fires are a huge challenge for our state, but I don’t think voters blame Newsom,” said Soneff. “Climate change, aging infrastructure, and historic housing choices created this crisis, and voters know it.”