Governor Gavin Newsom said in a speech Thursday that if he loses in September, that Democrats in California and across the nation could see their election and re-election chances be hurt for years to come.
The Governor maintained that Democrats are not paying nearly as much attention to the recall as they should, despite prominent Democrats such as President Joe Biden denouncing the recall, Vice President Kamala Harris saying that she will campaign for Newsom, and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) recently appearing in an ad supporting Newsom. Newsom explained that they are not thinking about what the long-term effects of one of the most prominent Democratic Governors in the country being ousted from power could be.
“I don’t think the national Democratic Party’s asking themselves that question,” said Newsom on Thursday. “If this was a successful recall, I think it would have profound consequences nationwide and go to not just politics, but to policy and policymaking. Democrats could face consequences for many, many years.”
The odds of Newsom’s chances of being recalled have been increasing in recent weeks due rising COVID-19 figures, a worsening drought, the return of major wildfires across the state, a large increase in crime, as well as lingering factors from last year such as restrictive lockdowns, policies he enacted that harmed small businesses, and several incidents of Newsom breaking state COVID-19 mandates for he and his family. The CDPH under Newsom even just issued another mandatory mask order on indoor public places.
Earlier this week, a new UC Berkeley survey found that Newsom now only has a razor thin lead in not being recalled by likely voters, as well as Newsom himself admitting for the first time he could lose.
In his speech Thursday, Newsom rebuked some of these criticisms, particularly attacking crime and saying that he supports police reform and not outright defunding the police.
“Don’t ever confuse me with the ‘defund the police’ movement,” stressed Newsom. “While I support police reform, I am not one of those people that think you can smash someone’s window or knock over some grandma and somehow have a slap on the wrist. I don’t buy that.”
Newsom defends tenure of Governor despite slipping lead in recall election
Experts noted how quickly Newsom has gone from largely ignoring the recall to now all but campaigning to keep his position since the beginning of summer.
“Newsom flat out ignored the entire recall effort until March, when it started to become likely that the recall movement got enough signatures,” noted Harry Schulz, a former lobbyist who had previously worked during the 2003 California Governor recall, to the Globe on Friday. “Then they were riding high and basically told every prominent Democrat not to run, even as an insurance candidate. So now Newsom is pretty much stuck campaigning to keep himself, and now by extension, the entire party in the highest office in the state. They didn’t expect this recent surge against him and they did not expect those that voted for him in 2018 to be so indifferent to voting this time around. Republicans and pro-recall supporters have, conversely, remained passionate and have been drawing in many groups that would have, in other years, voted for Newsom. It’s nowhere near the number of people that were against Gray Davis in 2003, but it is growing.”
“More importantly, recall supporters are trying to de-partisan politics in California by not making this a party issue and simply making it a Gavin Newsom issue. And the crazy thing is that it has been working little by little. A large percentage of signatories for the recall were in parties other than the GOP, and the Berkeley survey found that 6% of Democrats are in favor of the recall. The latter may not seem like much, but considering how close this election is becoming and how divided California has been, it’s not insignificant.”
“It’s no wonder that Newsom is now fighting like hell. He’s losing ground, and the party has no back up plan.”
Newsom ended his Thursday speech by saying that, even if he loses, that he has no regrets as Governor, even pointing out that he thinks the ‘California Dream’ is still alive and well.
“If they kick me out, I’m gonna feel good about what we just did, and not ever regret a damn thing,” added the Governor. “We put it all out there on this education budget. I’m a future ex-governor. It could happen in a few weeks, it could happen in a few years, but I love this damn state. The California dream, I think, is still alive and well.”
The recall election against Gavin Newsom is to be held on September 14th.