California Gov. Gavin Newsom ramped up his campaign to hold onto the governorship, slamming Republican opponent Larry Elder as more right-wing than former President Donald Trump.
“He’s to the right of Donald Trump. To the right of Donald Trump. That’s what’s at stake in this election and don’t think for a second you can’t do damage in that role. Think about the judges he could appoint. Who would he have appointed to replace Kamala Harris in the U.S. Senate? How would that impact the trajectory of this country. What would this mean for the future of the Democratic party in our efforts to keep the House of Representatives,” Newsom said Friday in San Francisco.
Californians are set to receive ballots next week for the recall election, which will be held on Sept. 14.
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Newsom’s comments on Friday came amid his first official campaign event urging residents to vote no to his recall on election day. The ballot will also ask voters who of the 46 candidates should replace Newsom.
“Just vote no. You don’t even have to touch the other part. The other part is irrelevant. Don’t even touch it. Simple no. This is about the easiest ballot you ever had to fill out. Just vote no. No on the recall,” said Newsom.
Elder leads the pack of Republican candidates looking to replace Newsom, receiving 18% support from likely voters in a July poll. While former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox both received 10% support in the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies/Los Angeles Times survey.
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A poll this month also found 51% of respondents want to recall the governor, while 40% want him to remain in office.
Elder, meanwhile, has repeatedly slammed Newsom for his coronavirus policies, which he says decimated California businesses, and said this week he would end mask and vaccine mandates in the state if elected.
“This man that I’m going to defeat on September 14, he shut down the state in the most severe way than any of the other 49 governors have,” Elder told a crowd in a San Jose church. “When I get elected, assuming there are still facemask mandates and vaccine mandates, they will be repealed right away and then I’ll break for breakfast.”
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“I know how difficult it is to run a business,” Elder told the crowd. “Many of them never succeed. Those who do succeed, often run on very thin profit margins, often from payroll to payroll. A third of all small businesses in California are now gone forever because [Newsom] ignored science.”
Elder has also taken aim at the incident that helped spark Newsom’s recall: Photos from November showing the Democratic governor dining in a swanky restaurant maskless and surrounded by people from outside of his own household.
“He incurred a $12,000 wine tab,” Elder said in July of the dinner. “That’s just for the wine.”
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“He was sitting with the very same lobbyists and medical professionals who drafted the mandates they were violating by not wearing masks and by not socially distancing,” he continued, calling it “hypocrisy.”