Newsom, who was overwhelmingly elected governor in 2018 in the heavily blue state of California, is facing a recall sparked last year mainly over accusations that he mishandled his state’s response to infectious-disease.
Republicans see the recall election as their best chance to topple a politician who has never lost an election during his years as San Francisco mayor, California lieutenant governor and now governor – and their first chance to win a statewide contest since the 2006 gubernatorial reelection victory by then-Gov. arnold-schwarzenegger” target=”_blank”>Arnold Schwarzenegger<
Ballots mailed last month to the Golden State’s 22 million registered voters must be postmarked by the end of Tuesday – or deposited into drop boxes or handed in in-person at the polls by 8 p.m. PT.
How does the California recall election work?
Voters are being asked two questions on the Newsom recall ballots.
The first question is whether the governor should be removed from office. If more than 50% support removing Newsom, the second question offers a list of candidates running to replace the governor.
If the governor is recalled, the candidate who wins the most votes on the second question – regardless of whether it’s a majority or just a small plurality – would succeed Newsom.
Who are the California recall candidates?
There are 46 gubernatorial replacement candidates on the ballot.
While he was one of the last contenders to jump into the race (on July 12), conservative talk radio host Larry Elder is the current front-runner in polling and fundraising. Elder would make history if elected as California’s first Black governor.
The governor and his political team for months have framed the recall drive against him as an effort by the far right, donald-trump” target=”_blank”>Trump< mandates for those working for the state, in health care and at schools.
Former two-term Republican mayor of San Diego Kevin Faulconer has spotlighted his ability to win election twice in a city where Democrats are in the majority.
Faulconer has also heavily criticized Newsom’s handling of the COVID crisis and has argued that local school districts and parents should have a much bigger say about implementing mask mandates. He’s also highlighted a push for $1 billion annually to fight disasters as a key part of his campaign for governor.
Caitlyn Jenner, the 1976 Olympic gold-medal-winning decathlete turned transgender rights activist and nationally known TV personality, grabbed plenty of attention when she launched her campaign in April.
But Jenner appeared to be playing defense this summer, defending her July trip to Australia – to appear in a reality TV program – as she deflected accusations that she wasn’t a serious contender.
Jenner, along with Elder, has skipped the gubernatorial debates, agreeing with her rival that she would only attend if Newsom took part in the showdowns.
Caitlyn Jenner, Republican candidate for California governor, speaks during a news conference on Friday, July 9, 2021, in Sacramento, Calif. Jenner said she is a serious candidate and asserted she is leading the field of Republican candidates, even though no independent polling has been that shows that. . (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Republican lawmaker Kevin Kiley, who was first elected to the state Assembly in 2016, has become a vocal opponent of the Democratic governor.
Kiley, a former teacher, attorney and state prosecutor, has pushed to end California’s COVID state of emergency, and like many of the other replacement candidates, he’s pilloried Newsom’s handling of the state’s homelessness crisis.
Newsom and state Democratic leaders for months discouraged fellow Democrats from running as replacement candidates.
But Kevin Paffrath, a real estate broker who has some 1.7 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, has grabbed attention by becoming the only Democrat among the pack of leading contenders.