California Primary: Voters Recall Democrat Josh Newman over Gas Tax Vote

State Senator Josh Newman (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

Voters in California’s 29th State Senate district recalled freshman Democrat Josh Newman in Tuesady’s California primary over his vote for Governor Jerry Brown’s 12-cent-per-gallon gas tax hike, replacing him with Republican Ling Ling Chang and definitively denying Democrats a supermajority in the upper house.

Election results showed Newman being recalled by a margin of 59.5% to 40.5%, despite the fact that saving his seat was the top priority of California Democrats on Tuesday.

Newman was, of course, not the only state senator to vote for the gas tax hike. He was, however, the most vulnerable, and Republicans targeted him in an effort to undo the Democrats’ supermajority.

That supermajority no longer existed by the time of the recall election, thanks to several “#metoo” resignations of Democrats who had been accused of sexual harassment.

However, the recall effort pressed ahead, and is an early barometer of voter outrage at the gas tax, amidst higher prices at the pump.

Republicans have likely managed to place a repeal of the gas tax on the November ballot, hoping to tap into a statewide majority that favors repealing the tax, and to motivate conservative voters to turn out — a task that has been made even easier by the somewhat unexpected second-place finish of Republican businessman John Cox in the primary for governor.

Newman’s recall is a hopeful sign for Republicans, who will need strong statewide turnout to defend several vulnerable congressional seats. Conversely, it is a bitter disappointment for Democrats, who now fear that the highly-anticipated “blue wave” may not materialize in California after all.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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