House Speaker Nancy Pelsoi (D-CA) announced on Thursday that she started up her political operation to help stop the recall effort against Governor Gavin Newsom.
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Normally, Pelosi’s operation, which consists of fundraising, ad buys, utilization of PACs and Super PACs, sending out prominent Democrats to speak at rallies, and other campaign tactics and strategies, is usually only active in even-numbered years to help out herself and other Democratic candidates in House, Senate, Presidential, and most Gubernatorial races. However, with recent recall polls now showing Newsom only staving off the recall by 2%, and recall candidates such as talk show host Larry Elder surging in support and drawing out new voters, Pelosi gave a rare foray into an odd numbered year election to help the beleaguered Governor.
Speaking at an event with Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) on Thursday, Pelosi announced that she would be helping Newsom with her entire political operation, designed to ensure Democrats being elected or re-elected, now at the heed of the Newsom campaigns needs.
“We respect it,” said Pelosi of the recall on Thursday. “But we do not like it, and we will defeat it.”
“Many of Newsom’s initiatives have alleviated the pain of coronavirus pandemic. I want everybody to get out the vote. I have my own operation working to get out the vote and making calls to defeat the recall of our governor.”
However, Pelosi’s demeanor on Thursday was markedly different from earlier this year where she, like Newsom, dismissed the idea of a recall succeeding and calling on all Democrats to not even run in the recall. On Thursday, she acknowledged it as a real issue for the first time. While Newsom’s popularity was on an upswing from late 2020 polls in early 2021, with the number of Californians in favor of a recall also being far lower than more recent polls, a recent upswing in support for the recall has galvanized nationally known Democrats in recent weeks. Lawmakers such as Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have even began to release ads in California denouncing the recall as a ‘Republican takeover’ due to surging support in favor of a recall.
Big help for Newsom that may still not be enough
Political experts have said that Pelosi’s extra support will be a big help to Newsom but may also signal that his support could actually be lower than previously thought.
“Nancy Pelosi does not take rolling out her PAC and Super PAC machine lightly,” explained Ana Montclair, a lobbyist who has helped shape PAC-funded ads in previous elections. “In May 2020, Pelosi’s machine had already bought $69 million worth of ads. That’s months before the election. That’s before the conventions. That’s when Sanders still had a chance. And 2022, with midterms at stake, she really doesn’t want to break out the funds or fundraise right now. But the California Governorship is at stake. She and Newsom are very close, both politically and even by family due to her brother-in-law marrying Newsom’s aunt. So this makes sense. He needs the help badly, especially in terms of getting people to vote. She can make that happen.”
“But that’s where the inverse comes. A lot of people are upset with Newsom right now, but a flurry of ads like this may reek of desperation. Contrary to popular belief, the voter is not stupid. And they can tell when one side is trying harder than the other to get their attention. And every single one of those ads will have a variation of ‘Republican takeover’ or ‘Return of Trump politics’ or other buzz-phrases to scare people into voting a certain way. They haven’t hit that center-left sweet-spot that is the biggest bloc of Californian voters. The right has mobilized. The left largely hasn’t because they didn’t think they needed to. The Democrats didn’t pick anyone to run. They didn’t run ads for months. They barely fought the petition for most of the months it was being signed.”
“Now look where they are. It’s no wonder Pelosi announced this today. They need the big guns. And while they have them now, it may be a question of if it is too late too. By mail ballots go out next week, and right now, people are still mad at Newsom.”
Other Democratic leaders are likely to join Warren and Pelosi in giving support to Newsom in the coming weeks.