”Yes,” the vice president said when asked by the San Francisco Chronicle if she would campaign for the Democratic governor.
Harris’s office confirmed in a statement to The Hill that Harris did say she will campaign for Newsom, without elaborating.
The recall election of Newsom, a first-term Democrat, is set for Sept. 14, and follows mounting criticism from within his party and from Republicans over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues.
He faced intense backlash after he was seen dining at the French Laundry restaurant in Napa County with lobbyists last fall after telling Californians to stay home, and as COVID-19 cases surged. Newsom apologized for the incident.
The vice president, who previously served as attorney general of California, told the San Francisco Chronicle in April that the White House would be as “supportive as much as we possibly can” and that the Biden administration was “unambiguous” in its support for Newsom.
“He and I have worked together for a long time. We were elected to our first office, same time back in 2003,” she told reporters at the time as she toured a water treatment facility in the state with Newsom.
“One of the things I know is that Gavin has always been a champion about what we need to do around our environment, and he and I have had many conversations over the years in particular about preservation of water. And so I’m just so happy that you’ve been able to join us, governor,” she added.
The following month, she praised the governor’s handling of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic in several occasions.
“And President Joe Biden and I support him 100 percent,” Harris said, the Los Angeles Times reported.
A judge ruled last week that Newsom will not be able to identify himself as a Democrat on the ballot in September’s recall election due to an error in filing his official response to the recall effort from February last year.
Circumstances “do not justify excuse from the deadline,” Judge James P. Arguelles ruled.
The last time a governor was recalled in the state was in 2003 with Gray Davis. Residents voted yes on recalling Davis by 55.4 percent and selected one of 135 candidates on the ballot to replace him. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California is one of 19 states where recalls are permitted.
The deadline to file for candidacy for September’s recall election was July 16, and a preliminary list of candidates who have qualified to run was released by California’s Secretary of State on July 17.