Conservative Radio Host Larry Elder to Challenge Gov. Gavin Newsom in California Recall

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Conservative radio host and author Larry Elder is joining the race to replace incumbent California governor Gavin Newsom (D), who faces a recall election on September 14, according to a report Monday evening by the Associated Press.

Elder, a nationwide figure in the conservative movement, nicknamed “The Sage of South Central,” will join a growing field of Republicans who see Newsom’s recent governing struggles as a sign that the state needs new leadership.

The AP reported:

Conservative radio talk show host Larry Elder entered California’s Sept. 14 recall election on Monday, bringing a well-known voice on the political right to a muddled Republican field trying to oust first-term Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Elder said he decided to enter his first campaign after witnessing California’s out-of-control homeless crisis, spiking crime rates, looming water and power shortages, and whipsaw coronavirus lockdowns.

Elder’s entry into the race immediately reorders a large GOP field that includes former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer; businessman John Cox, who was defeated by Newsom in 2018; state Assemblyman Kevin Kiley; reality TV personality and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner; and former U.S. Rep. Doug Ose. He also brings more celebrity sparkle to a race that has lacked a clear front-runner.

In a recall election, voters will be asked two questions: First, should Newsom be removed? And then, who should replace him? Voters will choose from a list of registered replacement candidates. However, the second votes only count if a majority votes yes on the first question.

Candidates have until July 16 to file papers to declare their candidacy. With dozens of candidates expected, it’s possible that a winner could top the field with as little as 20% or 30% of the vote. Republicans believe Elder’s presence in the race will help drive up support for the critical first question on the ballot.

The effort to recall Newsom gained momentum this past winter, during severe coronavirus lockdowns and after the governor was seen eating at a restaurant with lobbyists, in violation of his own guidelines for managing the pandemic.

His poll numbers have since rebounded, as the state has opened up. However, recent California wildfires, and shortages of power due to the state’s premature reliance on renewable energy sources, have revived criticism of the governor.

Elder’s announcement came as a judge rejected Newsom’s effort to correct an oversight and list himself as a Democrat on the recall ballot. Politicians typically prefer to be identified by party, and being the only listed Democrat in the race would have been an advantage for Newsom in a state where Democrats enjoy a comfortable lead in voter registration.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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