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Takeaways after Newsom survives California recall attempt

Gov. Gavin Newsom
Posted at 12:50 AM, Sep 15, 2021

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has fended off Republicans' recall attempt.

He did so by changing the stakes of the contest from a referendum on his own performance and into a partisan fight over Trumpism and the coronavirus.

But Tuesday's recall offered its own lessons. It showed that Republicans’ groundless claims of election fraud aren’t going away anytime soon.

Larry Elder, a conservative radio host and one of the top candidates vying to replace Newsom, floated allegations of widespread voter fraud on his website Tuesday — before the polls closed — despite offering little evidence to back his claims.

Elder's actions mirror those of former President Donald Trump, who spent months prior to the 2020 election warning of voter fraud. Even though Trump's own attorney general noted that the Justice Department did not find any evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, Trump continues to baselessly claim he lost in a "stolen" election.

The recall attempt was always a long shot in a state where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by nearly 2-1 and where the GOP hasn’t won a statewide election since 2006.

Tuesday's vote was just the second-ever governor recall election held in California's history. In the only other vote, Californians voted to recall Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, and installed Arnold Schwarzenegger as the new governor.