California Gov. Gavin Newsom ended his campaign to keep his job as voters headed to the polls on Tuesday to determine whether he should be recalled and potentially replaced by another candidate.
Newsom, a Democrat, recently received support from heavyweight members of his own party, including President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Vice President Kamala Harris.
On Monday night, Biden delivered a campaign speech for Newsom in California, attacking Republican challenger Larry Elder, a conservative radio and EpochTV host. Biden attempted to characterize Elder as a “Trump clone.”
“I’m going to make this as simple as I can, you either keep Gavin Newsom as your governor, or you’ll get Donald Trump. It’s not a joke,” Biden said. “In Gavin, you have a governor who shares the state’s values; in Gavin, you have a governor to make sure Donald Trump’s dark, destructive, divisive politics never finds a place in California.”
Elder, who could become California’s first black governor, called on Californians to vote yes in favor of the recall.
“Vote no for California’s future, Gavin? Vote YES. Vote YES for schools that serve our kids. Vote YES for managing our forests. Vote YES for safe & clean streets. Vote YES for California’s future,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Make sure you have your friends vote, vote, vote, and try and get 10 more friends to vote and hit every call, make every call, knock on every door, we’re gonna win this thing if we turn out the vote,” Elder also said from a hotel ballroom in Costa Mesa on Monday.
California voters on Tuesday are faced with two questions in the recall, whether Newsom should be recalled, and if he is recalled, who should replace him. Should more than 50 percent of voters cast their ballots to recall the governor, the top vote-getter in response to the second question would be named California’s governor.
Polls in the Golden State will close at 8 p.m. PT, but due to the large amount of mail-in ballots, it’s not clear when the election result will be finalized.
“There’s no scenario where we lose tomorrow,” Newsom strategist Sean Clegg told local news outlets.
But Thad Kousser, a political science professor at the University of California-San Diego, told local station KGTV that Republicans have a chance at polling stations on Tuesday.
“What we saw in the 2020 election is that Republicans in California now prefer to cast their ballots in person,” Kousser said. “So, as these vote centers have been opening up over the weekend and through election day, I think we’ll see the next group of voters coming in more strongly Republican.”
The campaign to oust the Democratic governor began with a conservative Republican group and gained steam during the pandemic. Proponents of the recall, angered by Newsom’s policies on immigration, crime, and homelessness also became infuriated by his decision to close schools and require masks and mandate vaccinations against COVID-19.
The animus against the governor’s COVID-19 mandates reached a boiling point when Newsom last year was seen dining in an upscale restaurant, the French Laundry, while he and others were not social distancing or wearing masks.