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Democratic California governor Gavin Newsom said Monday that Democratic voters should refrain from filling out the part of the ballot asking for candidate replacements in the upcoming gubernatorial recall election.
The ballot voters will be asked to complete includes two sections. One is a “yes or no” style question asking whether Newsom should keep his position or be removed. If “no” is selected for the first part, then a second part prompts the voter to write down a replacement candidate, of which there are 46 currently competing.
“We’re just focusing on ‘no’ on the recall, leaving the rest blank,” Newsom told Politico.
Newsom’s campaign team has emphasized the importance of party unity and has discouraged Democratic challengers from running in the race to avoid diluting support for the incumbent governor. Some Democratic operatives have suggested that the party should have a backup option on the ballot in case Newsom is voted out, Politico reported.
The governor stopped by a homeless encampment with a group of workers in Berkeley, California Monday to help clean up the debris and garbage littering the area and make passing remarks about the impending election.
According to a recent poll from SurveyUSA, a majority of likely voters support recalling Newsom 51 percent to 40 percent. California’s overall electorate is heavily Democratic, providing Newsom with some protection, so his fate is likely to rest on their turnout on election day. While the governor enjoyed significant approval from Hispanics in 2018, with 64 percent voting for him, securing his landslide victory, another recent poll from Emerson indicates Hispanics now support recalling him by 54 percent to 41 percent.
Many disgruntled residents have cited the governor’s pandemic mismanagement, strict lockdowns and COVID restrictions, tolerance for homelessness, the exorbitant cost of living, and general neglect of many issues plaguing California communities as reasons to oust him.
Of the dozens of Republican candidates challenging Newsom, conservative radio pundit Larry Elder has emerged as the top contender, the favorite among GOP voters. Former Olympian and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner also recently made the first foray into the political arena by declaring a bid to unseat Newsom. Last week, several GOP candidates in the contest participated in a debate, without Elder or Jenner in attendance.
Another recent Berkley poll still has Newsom in the lead, but it appears to shrink when exclusively voters likely to participate are surveyed. To remain in office, the governor will need to garner a majority vote. If voters remove Newsom, a recall competitor needs a plurality of the vote to win.