President Joe Biden announced late on Thursday that he is now officially backing California Governor Gavin Newsom in the recall election, one of the largest possible endorsements that the beleaguered Governor could hope to get in the election.
Since late June, Governor Newsom margin of victory has slipped from a double digit lead to only a narrow 48%-46% lead, with his overall popularity slipping away below 50% for the first time since January when COVID-19 new case figures were still very high from the November/December 2020 spike in cases.
These recent polling figures have led to more and more prominent national-level politicians to come out in support of Newsom, including Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-CA) to release ads against the recall, many Bay Area lawmakers joining together in favor of the former San Francisco Mayor, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) not only coming out in support of him early on Thursday, but also taking the unusual step of throwing her entire political operation behind him.
However, with only a month and a day left to go until the election, and mail-in ballots to go out early next week, President Biden, as well as Vice President and Californian Kamala Harris, will now be giving Newsom their seal of approval. In a statement on Thursday, Biden noted Newsom’s leadership through the pandemic, as well as his record on a multitude of issues, as reasons for Newsom to remain Governor.
“Governor Newsom is leading California through unprecedented crises,” said President Biden in a late Thursday statement. “He is a key partner in fighting the pandemic and delivering economic relief to working families and helping us build our economy back better than ever. He’s taking on the climate crisis and standing up for the rights of women, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community. He knows how to get the job done because he’s been doing it. And to keep him on the job, registered California voters should vote no on the recall election by September 14 and keep California moving forward.”
In a subsequent tweet, Biden also specifically noted his actions in fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic and his economic record.
“Gov. Gavin Newsom is leading California through unprecedented crises—he’s a key partner in fighting the pandemic and helping build our economy back better,” added Biden on Twitter. “To keep him on the job, registered voters should vote no on the recall election by 9/14 and keep California moving forward.”
Gov. @GavinNewsom is leading California through unprecedented crises—he's a key partner in fighting the pandemic and helping build our economy back better. To keep him on the job, registered voters should vote no on the recall election by 9/14 and keep California moving forward.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 13, 2021
Biden the latest prominent Dem to come out in support of Newsom
“I usually don’t have a lot of day-to-day contact with the Governor’s office,” explained “Dana,” a state Capitol staffer to the Globe on Friday. “But in the past few months everyone working for the Governor has gone from being chipper, to being in denial, to being, for lack of a better word, horrified that he may be recalled. They didn’t think this would ever happen, let alone ever reach a ballot. You can even hear it in their voices when you call them up. The tone has changed that much.”
Experts also note that while getting high-profile support a month before a major election isn’t unusual, in Newsom’s case it is more of a hail Mary rather than a standard political tactic.
“It’s not uncommon for these types of endorsements,” explained former lobbyist Harry Schultz in a Globe interview. “During any election season they’ll even proudly list them during ads or on their campaign website. But Pelosi and Biden are just so high up there. Harris too. They would not have come out unless it was critical.”
“Previously, all Biden has done during the recall is just denounce the recall itself. That’s it. Just a mention of him saying he opposes the effort to recall Newsom.”
“But it’s a different world now, and unlike the Spring, Newsom is now bleeding support and is very close to losing. It’s not a surprise than he is for Newsom, but it is that he is making an official announcement on it.
“The Biden Administration already lost one very administration-friendly Governor through [Former New York Governor Andrew] Cuomo. Biden even called on his resignation in the better end of that debacle and you can tell that he didn’t want to do that unless he had too. Now he may lose another, and this time it could be to a Republican replacing a Democrat. And in the largest state no less. One of the bluest states. All a year before the 2022 mid-terms in which the Dems hold narrow leads in both the House and Senate. It’s all connected to each other and Biden knows it. They don’t want the next domino to fall, and for Bien and the Democratic Party, Newsom is a very big domino.”
Appearances by Biden or Harris in California to support Newsom will likely be announced soon.