On Sept. 14, California voters rejected question one of the recall ballot, “Do you want to recall Gov. Newsom?” in a landslide. With 86% of the vote in, there are 7,944,092 votes (61.9%) voting “No” compared to the 4,894,473 voters (38.1%) voting “Yes” on the recall. This means California Gov. Gavin Newsom will stay in office. He is eligible to seek re-election in the 2022 California gubernatorial election. The recall was largely based upon Newsom’s COVID-19 restrictions.
With 94% of the vote reported in Orange County, formerly a Republican stronghold, had 552,568 voters (51.6%) vote “No” on recall compared to 517,742 votes (48.4%) vote “Yes” on the recall.
A CNN exit poll found that about 33% of respondents cited COVID-19 as the biggest issue for the state. Meanwhile, 20% of voters cited homelessness as their top priority and one-sixth of voters put the economy and other wildfires as their top issue.
On the issue of COVID-19, approximately 40% of voters said the situation is getting better, 30% of voters said that it remains the same and 25% of voters said the situation is worsening. Around 45% of voters say Newsom’s response to the pandemic, one of the primary reasons for the recall, has been just right. 33% of voters think that his policies are too strict with the rest of voters saying they’re not strict enough.
On April 26, proponents of the recall effort collected enough signatures for a recall election. Then on July 1, California Secretary of State Dr. Shirley N. Weber certified the recall and notified Lieutenant Gov. Eleni Kounalakis who announced that the recall election would take place on Sept. 14 on the same day.
There were two questions on the recall ballot: “Do you want to recall Gov. Newsom?” and “If the governor is recalled, who do you want to replace him?”
Question one needed a simple majority to vote “yes” on the recall to remove Newsom from office and the top replacement candidate for question two would become the next governor and would serve the remainder of Newsom’s term. However, if a simple majority voted “no” on the recall, Newsom would remain in office and the recall would have failed. Voters also had the option to vote “no” on recall and vote for a replacement candidate.
For question two, “If the governor is recalled, who do you want to replace him?” Radio host Larry Edler, a Republican who has consistently been polled as the top replacement candidate for Newsom, had 3,563,867 votes (48.4%) and YouTuber Kevin Paffrath, a Democrat, was in second with 706,778 votes (9.6%). There is only 38.1% of the question two vote in, however, question two is now moot due to 50% or more California voters voting “No” on recall.
“No is not the only thing that was expressed tonight,” Newsom said during his victory speech. “I want to focus on what we said yes to as a state. We said yes to science. We said yes to vaccines. We said yes to ending this pandemic. We said yes to all those things that we hold dear as Californians and I would argue as Americans.”
Newsom will remain in office and is eligible to seek re-election in the 2022 California gubernatorial election.