Vice President Kamala Harris returned to the Bay area on Wednesday, attending an event with Governor Gavin Newsom to urge people to vote no in the upcoming recall election.
After flying into Oakland on Wednesday morning, Vice President Harris joined up with Newsom at the IBEW-NECA Joint Apprenticeship Training Center in San Leandro, immediately defending the Governor to the large crowd.
“I flew home to stand and speak in support of my dear friend, my longstanding friend, a great California leader, a great American leader, Governor Gavin Newsom,” said Harris.
Harris stressed that the implications of the elections stretched far beyond California, as a Republican victory next week would likely encourage others nationwide. Specifically, she noted that, along with several other recent high-profile conservative victories such as Texas’ passage of stricter abortion laws and Georgia’s stricter voter laws, California electing in a Republican Governor would help signal in a shift to the right on worker’s rights, women’s rights, voting rights, and other critical areas leading up to the 2022 midterm elections and the 2024 Presidential election.
“You have to understand that this recall campaign is about California, and it’s about a whole lot more,” said Harris. “What’s happening in Texas, what’s happening in Georgia, what’s happening around our country with these policies that are attacking women’s rights, reproductive rights and voting rights, workers’ rights. They think if they can win in California, they can do this anywhere.”
Speaking primarily to female voters and people of color, Harris countered the right-leaning trend by highlighting Newsom’s record as Mayor of San Francisco, as Lt. Governor, and as Governor, putting emphasis on key social justice and health issues such as helping legalize gay marriage in San Francisco in the mid-2000’s and his more recent actions in locking down the state and imposing mandates to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
While Harris largely talked up Newsom in San Leandro, Newsom used his time to speak largely to attack recall candidate frontrunner Larry Elder.
Newsom goes after Larry Elder in San Leandro
Building on the theme of the female and minority vote in the recall, Newsom attacked Elder’s past comments, such as not believing in a glass ceiling preventing women from moving to positions of power and authority. He also said if Elder had been Governor only a year ago, things would have looked vastly different in California. In particular, Newsom pointed out the questions of who he would have elevated to Senator following Harris’ move to VP and if there would have been a stimulus in California at all.
“He doesn’t believe there’s a glass ceiling – tell that to Kamala Harris, who did shatter the glass ceiling for vice president,” said the Governor on Wednesday. “Imagine what would have happened when Harris vacated her US Senate seat to join the Biden administration. What kind of judges would Larry Elder appoint as Governor of California? Who would he have appointed 10 months ago to replace Kamala Harris when she became vice president? What would that have done in Washington DC today? Would there have been a stimulus? Would there be Majority Leader Chuck Schumer? Think of the consequences, California. That’s what’s at stake.
“Elder would walk us off that same [COVID-19] cliff as Texas, and Florida, Tennessee and Alabama and Georgia. This election is a choice about life and death. It’s true California has among the lowest case rates in America, and among the highest vaccination rates in America. Because we believe in science. We believe in public health. That is on the ballot in the next week.”
Political experts observed that while Harris and Newsom pressed upon many hot button issues for Californians, the overall goal for them was to still convince Democrat and left-leaning voters to vote in key urban areas rather than push outside the Bay Area and Los Angeles.
“You can’t deny that it isn’t working, but they aren’t doing themselves any favors for practically ignoring the rest of the state,” explained former lobbyist Harry Schultz to the Globe on Wednesday. Right now about 28%-29% of all votes have been certified by the state, around 6.4 million out of a possible 22.3 million.”
“She repeatedly denounced the efforts of GOP-controlled legislatures curtailing voting and abortion rights.”
“For Newsom, this race is all about turnout, not persuasion, and he has long had a strong advantage among women. With Harris’ help Wednesday, his team is trying to get Democratic women to return their ballots in droves to maintain the strong advantage they are already seeing in the partisan registration of the more than 6.4 million pre-Election Day ballots cast so far. According to several political data firms, 53% of those cast have been from Democrats, 25% from Republicans, and the rest from Independents.”
“Republicans will probably see a larger number of votes day of with in-person voters at the polls. Along with a significant number of Democrats wanting Newsom out and a still strong GOP push, it’s still possible for Newsom to be recalled, although it’s looking less and less likely due to a resurgence of Democratic voters.”
Harris, who previously had to cancel an August appearance for Newsom due to the Afghanistan pullout crisis, is set to leave Oakland late on Wednesday. President Joe Biden is expected to stump for Newsom early next week right before the election.