California voted overwhelmingly to retain its Democratic governor on Tuesday, rejecting a Republican attempt to oust him in a special recall vote due to mask mandates and Covid lockdowns.
Gavin Newsom practically survived an effective vote of confidence that could have seen him replaced by one Republican with only minority support in one of the most liberal parts of United States.
With more than 60 percent of the vote counted, NBC and CNN both said Newsom would win, after securing about two-thirds of the votes.
Millions voted by mail, enabling fast counting of valid votes shortly after the polls closed at 0300 GMT.
Newsom had proudly boasted that he followed science in order California to stay home during the worst Covid-19 pandemic.
But entrepreneurs blamed him for suffocating his businesses with his rules, and parents were ashamed to keep their children home from school.
The vote had been eagerly seen by politicians across the deeply divided country as a possible indicator of how the executives who listened to doctors – instead of angry voters – would fare at the ballot box.
Nysom’s main opponent was Larry Elder, 69, a right-wing radio star who has proudly expressed his support for the former president Donald Trump.
Before the polls even closed, Elder took a page from Trump’s 2020 election book and launched a website alleging voter fraud, demanding that government officials “investigate and improve the twisted results” of the election.
The vote was a two-part referendum, with the first asking if 53-year-old Newsom would stay.
The other, who only recorded if a majority wanted him gone, asked which of the 46 candidates would take his place.
Traditional politicians competed with a YouTube star, a “Billboard Queen” and Kardashian clan member Caitlyn Jenner for the booty.
‘Get rid of’
The revocation initiative, which has cost the state about $ 280 million, is one of 55 such attempts to oust a governor in the state’s history.
For the most part, they have not gone anywhere, but pandemic measures introduced by Newsom gave this attempt a leg up.
The request to remove him was gathered in time after he had dinner at an elegant restaurant, seemingly in violation of his own Covid-19 rules, which gave the impression that he was an out-of-touch hypocrite.
Mary Beth, a 63-year-old business owner who voted Tuesday in Los Angeles, said she voted to “get rid of Newsom” because “the virus created chaos in our economy but he made it even worse with its lockdowns.”
“There were other ways to handle it and he should have prioritized business,” she said.
Another recaller told AFP he wanted someone who would not introduce a vaccine mandate — a problem with the buttons throughout the divided United States.
“I feel very strongly that we need to get rid of our governor because I think he’s just a corrupt Democrat, just like the people we have in the federal government and we need them out,” Farid Efraim said.
“We need someone who truly represents the people.”
Democrats complained the Republican led the recall was an attempt to hijack the state government: to seize power in extraordinary circumstances when they could never do so in a regular vote.
A poll by Spectrum News and IPSOS, which was published before the results were announced, showed that two thirds of registered voters regarded the withdrawal as a political coup.
California’s election rules set the revocation field low.
Misbehaviors only need to collect signatures corresponding to 12 percent of the number of people who voted in the last election – in this case 1.5 million.
California’s population is about 40 million.
“This whole recall is ridiculous,” said Jake, a 38-year-old tech worker who preferred not to give his last name.
“I did the math and even if every registered voter shows up, it would cost more than $ 12 per vote,” he said.
“A lot of people could have had breakfast with it this morning.”
Vance Hagins said the recall process was an abuse.
“You have 40 people running for governor, half of them are crazy and have no chance of winning, but their name is on the ballot and wasting our time,” he said.
The only successful recall in California got bodybuilder and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger to his office in 2003.
The “governor,” who stopped running the state for more than seven years, was California’s last Republican executive.