On Friday, California Governor Gavin Newsom’s campaign announced that Vice President Kamala Harris will come to California next week to rally Democratic voters in the Bay Area.
Vice President Harris, who was the District Attorney of San Francisco at the same time Governor Newsom was Mayor of the city in the mid 2000’s, will appear with Newsom throughout the Bay Area next Friday, with further details to be released early next week.
“I am excited to join my friend and our Vice President next week,” said the Newsom campaign in a statement. “The stakes of this election couldn’t be higher. The Vice President and Governor Newsom will urge Californians to vote NO on the recall and prevent a Trump-supporting Republican from becoming California’s next Governor.”
Newsom’s announcement on Friday is only the latest in the growing Washington-backed movement to stop the recall. Earlier this year, President Joe Biden, Vice President Harris, and other top Democrats in Washington largely ignored the recall race, only giving verbal support during certain times. Joe Biden only initially denounced the recall in February due to signature collection still not being complete. Harris had only spoken out when questioned about it on a California visit. And top House and Senate Democratic leaders only spoke against the recall when they needed to convince other Democrats not to run in the recall.
During the spring months of 2021, Newsom also rebounded in popularity due to COVID-19 rates going down and the state reopening. Many Democratic leaders assumed that the rest of the race would go this way based on Newsom’s popularity and the state’s large Democratic-leaning population.
However, the rise of COVID-19 rates, a worsening drought and water shortage crisis, wildfire mismanagement, a sharp rise of violent crime statewide, a worsening homeless crisis, and negative effects of previous COVID-19 mandates came to a head in June and July with those and other issues pulling Newsom’s popularity and the percentage of voters against the recall down to new lows.
The addition of new candidates with large support bases, such as talk show host Larry Elder, also boosted the number of likely voters against the recall. Within only a few months, the percentage of voters against the recall compared to for the recall had gone from double digits to within only a few percentage points.
This led to more and more high-level help, with prominent Senators creating ads for Newsom, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) having her campaign operation begin helping Newsom, and the White House taking the rare step in getting more personally involved in the race. Harris’ visit next week is only the latest of the more bolder efforts to stop the recall from succeeding.
Harris visit signals growing worry among Democrats over recall election
“They aren’t desperate, at least not yet,” explained former lobbyist Harry Schultz to the Globe on Friday. “But these are very unusual steps they are taking. The Vice President usually has big trips like these planned out months ahead, and here they are penciling in an entire cross country trip a week out. Not desperate, but it’s not exactly routine either. They need Harris to make sure voters in the Bay Area vote. Polls have shown that Democrats have been more disinclined to vote this time around while Republicans remain energized and are maxing out their voters. And with the Bay Area holding a greater percentage of registered Democrats than any other area in California, including wine country and Los Angeles, this is making sure that the most possible Democrats come out for Newsom.”
“Note that they aren’t trying to switch over undecideds anymore. They’re focusing solely on their base now. Most of Newsom’s campaign stops have been geared specifically towards getting Democrats to vote rather than convince people otherwise. They’re even calling it the “Republican recall” in order to get party unity.”
“They aren’t at the ‘Hail Mary’ point yet. They have a few aces up their sleeves coming up, like the state stimulus checks coming out before election day they can count on. But if the polls and early by-mail exit polling start to show the recall starting to succeed, then it will be time for desperation. That means Biden coming out. That means attack ads being solely directed at the Republican frontrunner. That means Newsom saying in speeches he just gave Californians $600. The Democrats do not want to lose California to the GOP, not before the critical 2022 mid-terms. Having Harris out here is the alarm going up another level.”
The California recall election is to be held on September 14th.
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