California governor Gavin Newsom survived a recall election this Tuesday, securing a double-digit victory with two-thirds of the votes counted.
Polls for in-person voting closed at 11 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Voters had been submitting mail-in ballots for a few weeks ahead of time.
Due to the pandemic, all active registered voters received a ballot in the mail. The state allows Californians to mail in a ballot postmarked as late as Election Day if it arrives within three days.
64 percent of California voters decided to keep the governor in office until 2023- the end of his first term. In L.A. County, voters defeated the recall by 73.6% to 26.4% and in Orange County by 57.9% to 42.1%.
Hispanic voters made up a quarter of the turnout in exit poll results. Fifty-eight percent of Latinos voted to retain Newsom, including 62% of Latina women, while 53% of Latino men voted to retain and 47% to remove the governor.
Voters were asked two questions: should Newsom be replaced, and if he is recalled, who out of his 46 opponents in the election should take his place?
Newsom's "no" campaign outspent its opponents and strategically depicted the recall as a Trump-inspired effort in a state where Democrats have nearly a 2-1 registration advantage, control every statewide office, and hold supermajorities in the legislature.
The recall was the second in California's history to qualify for the ballot. The only successful California recall occurred in 2003, when Arnold Schwarzenegger beat Democratic incumbent Gray Davis. Schwarzenegger was the state's last Republican chief executive.
The Republican-led effort gained traction last year over allegations that he mishandled the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Nearly 1.5 million Californians signed the recall petition due to frustrations over state-issued health orders and the appearance of Newsom at a dinner party- not wearing a mask- during the height of surging Covid cases.
The leading Republican candidate Larry Elder, a conservative talk radio host and supporter of former President Donald Trump, secured about 43 percent of the vote on the portion of the ballot asking who should replace Newsom if he were recalled.
The California Republican Party did not endorse Elder or any other candidate in the recall.
Reminiscent of the 2020 elections, Republicans sought to undermine the integrity of the recall before voters headed to the polls Tuesday by saying the election was rigged and fraudulent.
In the final days of the race, Newsom received support from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as other prominent democrats, including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer.
At a rally on Monday, President Biden said that the results of the election would be felt nationally, and that it would have major implications on issues like climate change, the pandemic, and reproductive rights.
Biden called Newsom's biggest rival, Larry Elder, a "clone" of former President Donald Trump.
In his victory speech, Newsom warned. "We may have defeated Trump, but Trumpism is not dead in this country. The big lie, the January 6 insurrection, all the voting suppression efforts that are happening all across this country... the assault on the fundamental rights, constitutionally protected rights, of women and girls. It's a remarkable moment in our nation's history."
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