Vice President Kamala Harris canceled a planned recall campaign stop in the Bay Area on Thursday, delivering a blow to Governor Gavin Newsom’s campaign to stop the recall.
Harris and the White House had initially announced the California stop last week as part of her return trip from Vietnam, Singapore, and Hawaii. While the location for the event was still unknown on Thursday, it was expected to help rally both Democratic and undecided voters to vote against the recall next month.
“I am excited to join my friend and our Vice President next week,” said the Newsom campaign in a statement last week. “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.”
Due to Newsom’s narrowing lead in the election this week, the White House announced Wednesday that President Joe Biden would be coming out to California as well and stump with Newsom to help stop the recall.
“It’s a one-two punch,” explained Ricardo Reyes, a political event planner in Central California, to the Globe on Thursday. “Statewide elections usually don’t get the President or VP out here, let alone both. You get both out here, in a largely Democratic state, and that is easily a boost in polling numbers. At the very least, it energizes your base even more.”
However, Harris’ plans were scrapped on Thursday. Vice Presidential officials said that Harris would be returning to Washington straight from Hawaii due to the terror attack outside the Kabul Airport that left 12 American troops killed, 15 injured, and more than 60 Afghans dead.
“Following the VP’s visit to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam this afternoon, the Vice President will return to Washington D.C.,” tweeted Senior Advisor and Chief Spokeswoman for the VP Symone Sanders.
Following the @VP’s visit to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam this afternoon, the Vice President will return to Washington D.C.
— SDS (@SymoneSanders46) August 26, 2021
Harris’ announcement dealt a blow to the recall campaign, and may trigger further setbacks in the final weeks in the lead up to the election, including the now more likely odds that Biden will also cancel due to the situation in Afghanistan.
“Harris’ visit wasn’t so much about energizing new people to vote than it was to get Democrats to vote,” former lobbyist Harry Schultz reiterated to the Globe on Thursday. “Projected Bay Area turnout has been pretty low, so the Harris visit was set up as one of many events to get out the word to vote no on the recall. But that’s gone now. Newsom is now left with only monetary and verbal support, not the in-person visit that really brings people out.”
“This has to be devastating to Newsom. Harris is from the Bay Area and means a lot to people up there. The first female, black, and Asian VP checks a lot of boxes for people wanting to come out to see her and be influenced by what she says. But that’s gone now.”
As of Thursday afternoon, President Joe Biden has yet to say if his upcoming visit is cancelled as well.