A Republican-led effort to oust California Gov. Gavin Newsom ended in failure after Democrats sounded the alarm over the possibility that the state would fall to a "clone" of former President Donald Trump, and give his ideology a foothold in the US's most populous state.
Speaking to reporters after news outlets projected that he would defeat the recall attempt, Newsom continued to warn "Trumpism is not dead in this country."
"Just in the last few days, the former president put out, saying this election was rigged. Democracy is not a football. You don't throw it around," he said, referring to Trump. "It's more like an antique vase. You can drop it and smash it in a million different pieces. And that's what we're capable of doing if we don't stand up to meet the moment and push back."
With ballots still being tallied on Wednesday, voters have already supplied Newsom with insurmountable support. Ballots asked voters two questions -- one, if Newsom should be removed from office, and two, who should replaced him if he is removed.
The second question did not come into play with Newsom holding commanding support. In all, 64% of voters have said Newsom should remain in office while just 36% have said he should go, according to data tallied by the Los Angeles Times newspaper.
A crowded field of dozens of Republican candidates was led by former conservative talk show host Larry Elder, a steadfast political supporter of Trump who lost the state in the 2020 presidential election by 30 points. Elder captured the largest share of the vote for individuals who answered the second question with nearly half of voters picking him.
Elder acknowledged his defeat, telling supporters at a rally to be "gracious in defeat."
"By the way, we may have lost the battle, but we are going to win the war," he said.
Every California governor since 1960 has been the subject of a recall attempt, but only two have gathered enough signatures to make it to the ballot box. The other was when former governor, and internationally-recognized movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger defeated incumbent Jerry Brown in 2003.
Schwarzenegger remained in office through 2011, and maintains the mantle of the state's last Republican governor. The minority white state has increasingly trended Democratic and liberal in recent decades with minority groups continuing to grow in size, and Latinos now making up California's largest ethnic group.
Newsom's campaign sought to energize opposition to the recall effort, saying in an email distributed in the final days of the election that it was "close" as US President Joe Biden joined Newsom on the campaign trail to issue a dire warning to Democrats.
"This is not hyperbole — the eyes of the nation are on California. Because the decision you’re about to make isn’t just going to have a huge impact on California. It’s going to reverberate around the nation and, quite frankly — not a joke — around the world," Biden said in Long Beach. "This year, the leading Republican running for governor is the closest thing to a Trump clone that I’ve ever seen in your state."Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.