Governor Gavin Newsom Recall: Recap

By Nadia Geisser

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Nadia Geisser, Staff Writer

As of late, the California election to recall our 40th Governor since January 2019, Gavin Newsom, has been heated. After some speculation, it has been concluded that the recall was driven by the Repuplican party, or GOP, criticism of Newsom’s COVID-19 policies. Although the election results have already been released with Newsom winning more than 60% of the vote (5.8 million), the other candidates, specifically Newsom’s runner up, Larry Elder, were questionable. 


Newsom has been very successful in helping California progress. He’s halted executions and the death penalty in our state, established new limits on police use of force in favor of reforming the criminal justice system, created a single-payer health care system, and recently implemented mask and vaccine mandates — which has grown severely controversial. This was one of the main reasons for Newsom’s recall, and his biggest competitor during this election had some opposing thoughts about it.


Larry Elder, a conservative talk radio host, was Newsom’s greatest threat this past election. Elder’s agenda included erasing state vaccine and mask mandates, which would be detrimental to the overall health of California residents and reducing the spread of Covid-19. Elder has also been public about his critical outlook on gun control, lack of belief in systemic racism, and his opposition towards minimum wage. Elder believes that Newsom’s policies will increase the rate of homelessness, taxes, and crime rates. 

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There were four main competitors running for California Governor, including Elder, Kevin Paffrath, Kevin Faulconer, and John Cox. Paffrath, a democratic youtube star with over a 1.7 million following, wants to focus on homelessness and mental health. Kevin Faulconer, former republican San Diego Mayor, doesn’t support the mask mandate for public schools or critical race theory, an academic movement that examines the intersection of race and U.S. law, and wants to reduce homelessness. John Cox, who lost to Newsom in 2018, is a conservative businessman who wants to fix the state’s living cost, taxes, and regulations. However, Cox wants to ban all abortions under any circumstance whatsoever.


Although the results have already been released, the nature of this election was far too risky. If Larry Elder had won the seat, California, the state with the largest population in the U.S., wouldn’t survive his proposed reverse of the mask and vaccine mandates. Covid cases would greatly increase and, due to the nature of the Delta variant, the likelihood of more variants evolving would increase.


Larry Elder told KMJ radio, “I have now become a political force here in California in general and particularly within the Republican party. And I’m not going to leave the stage.”, implying that he will run again in 2022. Although this is not for certain, Elder’s comeback is still up for review and he has not yet made an official statement clarifying this claim. 


Although the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 will have changed by 2022, and it will be significantly harder for Elder to win the seat considering democrats outnumber the number of republicans vastly, risking the health of all Californians in another election is extremely dangerous and unethical. 

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As of right now, reducing the spread of the virus is the most important focus, and vaccinations and wearing masks are the quickest, most effective solutions. Covid-19  will most likely stay the main focus, at least until 2022, as long as people like Elder are given a platform to spread misinformation.


Even with the highest population, California has the lowest Covid-19 rates in the nation. Despite the GOP criticism of Newsom’s policies, he is keeping California residents healthy and safe. A governor with an opposite agenda would put California months behind all of the progress we’ve made so far.


Although this election was a close call, Gavin Newsom defeated the recall, and his protocols have bestowed optimum safety and health among California residents.